Explaining Europe’s stranglehold on the World Cup requires delving into a thick handbook of seemingly mind-numbing regulations.
The eligibility requirements for clubs playing in Europe’s elite club competitions go far beyond guidelines for stadiums, spectators and players at Champions League and Europa League matches.
Move past finance and governance rules and stop at the section on youth teams.
Since 2004, European football’s governing body has required all leading clubs to operate youth teams at various age groups. Playing at the highest level of the game means also operating at least one team for under-10s, another in the 10-14 bracket and at least two in the 15-21 range.