“I see more a European league developing over time rather than one team going out of the country. The national leagues will survive but maybe in 10 years, you will have a European league”, said former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, in 2009, as per The Guardian, just two years short of accurate estimation.
The European Super League has become the most controversial revelation in the footballing world overnight. A huge majority of fans are against it but some neutrals, with no respect for the history and the heritage this sport has created, are supporting it. “A money-mongering business”, “an absolute disgrace”, “death of football as we know it”, are just some of the ways in which fans have described this new breakaway league.
“AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable,” says the official ESL site.
Gary Neville, former Manchester United and England defender, said the founder clubs of the ESL were motivated by “pure greed.” He told Sky Sports, “Enough is enough. Deduct them all points, put them at the bottom of the league, and take their money off them… Seriously, in the midst of a pandemic, an economic crisis and these lot are having Zoom calls about breaking away and basically creating more greed? Joke.”
Created, basically, just out of the greed of the owners of these clubs, here are the pros and cons of the controversial European Super League.
- Top Clubs Playing Each Other Every Week: Entertaining fixtures week in and week out, a showcase of the best teams in the world competing against each other over a whole season.
- Money For The Clubs: An advantage only for the clubs involved is the huge amount of money that they will be receiving. The official press release says, “In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.” Over the long term, TV deals with clubs will be as high earning as ever and the demand for tickets will see average stadium attendances over the 100,000 mark (that is if football fans over the globe start accepting this league).
- The Breakaway Clubs Might Still Compete in Home Competitions: The Super League announcement included the information that the clubs involved will continue to play their domestic competitions. This is good news for football but will the leagues and UEFA allow it? Highly unlikely with the recent statements published by the FA and UEFA, but all we can do is wait for the scenario to unfold.
- The History of Football Will Be Changed Forever: I really did not know where to start with this one. Football as we know it will not be the same. The passion, the upsets, the underdog creating history, none of this will take place in the Super League. The league competition domestically across Europe will lose all its foundations and this may end up with a lot of the clubs at the bottom of the football pyramid going out of business. Might as well rip up the record books and start again.
- Clubs Become Franchises: The founding clubs of the league will become franchises and these clubs will lose touch with the most important part, fans, for the sake of the clubs ‘brand’. Clubs relocating becomes a trend, players will start pocketing £500,000 a week salaries for fun and £200 million transfer fees will be more of a regular thing than a one-time thing!
- Football Will be Divided: A breakaway league causes such a divide with the domestic leagues that a divide in the sport occurs. UEFA has already threatened of robbing the players of international UEFA tournaments if they are involved in the Super League. This will create a huge divide in football as we know it.
- What is the Selection Procedure? A big question raised by former Manchester United defender in his BT Sports program was that who decided that these are the biggest clubs in Europe? Who selected them? Arsenal and Spurs did not even qualify for the Champions League, Manchester United couldn’t go past the group stages so who is to say these are even still the so-called ‘Big 6’ in England.
- No Inspiration: Leicester City beating the unfathomable 5000:1 odds to win the league, FC Porto winning the Champions League, a young Ajax team steamrolling past the big clubs to reach the CL semis, these are the inspiring stories we will miss out on.
- No Pyramid System: No promotion or relegation is involved in the ESL. This means that even if a club has a terrible season, it will come back to play again next season as nothing has happened. The fiesty last game week matches, the nerves of the relegation battles, the excitement of promotion, none of this will take place.
Rumour has it that Paris Saint Germain, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund were asked to be a part of the League as well and they denied. With what is usually said about the PSG owners, this denial by them does call for huge respect on their name to try and keep the game alive.
Personally, as a football fan, I despise the idea of such a league. Even from a very neutral point of view, I can’t really see how this is for anything other than the money involved. Just the announcement of the League has sent the football world into haywire. UEFA has cancelled all Champions League and Europa League fixtures temporarily, and it’s tough to see where we go on from here.