SPORTS

Review — The Rise And Fall Of The European Super League

The year so far in sports has been thrilling, dramatic and kept us on the edge of our seats or couches. Fans have enjoyed the return of most major sporting competitions and leagues in 2021.

Also, major sporting events postponed in 2020 have occurred. It includes the Olympics, Copa America, and the Euro football championship.

Therefore, with an endless news cycle for sports, some stories are reported without detailed analysis, critiquing, and introspection of the lessons learned. In this article, we will tackle one of the major storylines from this year which is the rise and fall of the European Super League.

We will also look at the likelihood of this league reemerging in the future.

The Rise

The concept of a super league has long been a constant source of speculation surrounding the sport of football. However, on April 18, 2021, reports emerged that the once hypothetical dream had now become a reality.

The Big Six clubs from England had joined forces with the top teams from Spain and Italy to form a breakaway league. The idea behind the league is that it would rival the Champions League midweek fixtures.

However, the teams would compete in their respective national leagues on the weekend. The 12 clubs that initiated the league included Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Real Madrid.

It appears they left three open spots for PSG, Bayern Munich, and Borrusia Dortmund to make up the 15 founding members. These teams would remain permanently in the league and would never face relegation.

The league would add another five teams each year that would fight to keep their place.

The 12 founding members felt that the league would save football and attract a younger audience due to the high-quality football played. The league would also lead to massive revenues and profits for the clubs involved.

According to a statement by the founding 12 clubs via theguardian.com, “Founding clubs will receive an amount of 3.5 billion Euros solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the Covid pandemic.”

Yes, the money would have helped these elite clubs financially to offset the losses they had experienced during the pandemic when fans could attend matches. Therefore, the venture would have brought more value and stability to the clubs.

The Fall

The proposed venture faced immediate backlash from fans, pundits, players, politicians, and even football associations not involved. The outcry was this venture arose on the sole basis of money and greed.

Some felt that the league would devalue the game because it was unfair to teams with less financial muscle. The league would biasedly reward a team because of their history rather than the mediocrity of their current play.

For example, Arsenal had a spot in this proposed league despite not making the top 4 and qualifying for the Champions League since 2016-2017.

The fans took the street by launching massive protests outside stadiums to make their displeasure heard by the club hierarchy. It appeared that the Owners and Senior Executives of the clubs knew about the proposed league.

The managers and players expressed shock and disappointment at how the saga unfolded. Chelsea was the first club to initiate their withdrawal from the Super League based on an aggressive protest before their game with Brighton.

Then, the owners of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Manchester City all put out statements and essays to express their apologies for their actions. Liverpool’s owner, John Henry, did a video message to express his apology.

Yes, in just 48 hours the plot for the European Super League had fizzled. The following day, Inter and AC Milan announced their intentions to withdraw from the league which led to the final collapse of the plans.

Will we ever see it again?

It’s hard to imagine the plans for this league ever coming to fruition because of the immediate condemnation it received from the fans. Although we live in a modern world, the owners of the teams realized that the fans’ love of football is steeped in tradition and not capitalism. The proposed format of the league was also flawed because it guaranteed permanent membership for the 15 founding teams which makes it an unfair competition.

In the current domestic league, every team has to fight for the championship, get in the Champions League, and avoid relegation. Fans may find the next Super League more palatable if it creates a system based on merit.

The biggest hurdle these teams face is the stiff penalties they would face if they did this again. According to Sky Sports, each Premier League club had to pay a fine of 3.5 billion dollars.

Also, if any club signed up for a similar project in the future, it would be liable to a penalty of more than 20 million pounds and a 30-point Premier League deduction, according to one source.

The clubs had to a separate collective fine from UEFA of 31 million pounds. The Executives of the Big 6 Premier League teams also had to resign from their positions.

However, the elite clubs do have a point because there is a competitive balance the league would bring to football. The lack of competition is seen in Italy because Juventus has won 9 of the last ten titles.

In France, PSG has won 7 of the last nine titles and Bayern Munich has won the last nine titles in Germany.

Even in England, four of the Big Six clubs have won 16 of the last 17 domestic titles while in Spain the three big clubs have shared the last 17 titles. The Champions League also lacks competitiveness in the group stages because smaller teams lacking real quality.

The proposed Super League would grab the attention of the footballing world and result in mega earnings. Although the plans for this league are now dead, the clubs could resurrect it sometime in the distant future if they give an equal opportunity to lesser clubs, engage the fans and ensure it does not feel like a rogue operation.

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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