Despite his delight at Basel’s Europa League progress, Heusler said it was not the same competition as the Champions League, where they reached the round-of-16 last season.
“We played AS Roma in successive years, one year in the Europa League and one in the Champions League,” he said. “In the Europa League we had 15,000 people and we had trouble getting that many. One year later we had 36,000, fully sold out. It’s the money.”
“People can tell me what they want, but at the end of the day the huge amounts of money in the Champions League have brought about a huge difference in the way the competitions are looked at by the public,” Heusler said. “People believe it’s much more important to play a Champions League game than a Europa League game, which is sad in a way. I remember the times when we had the European Cup, UEFA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup, and as a fan at the time it was not important for me where we played, it was just wonderful to play in Europe.”