Story so far and Update on the European Super League: A threat to the Spirit of football !!
The Football/Soccer world in the past week has been thrown into confusion and agitation as talks of a new “European league” fully spread. So many were filled with dread and anger as to what this meant for European competitions and Football as a whole.
The European Super League is definitive itself in its name. A new separate League involving the top European clubs. Clubs who over the years of footballs origins have made a name for themselves by winning a lot of competitions consistently and more than most. Be it their domestic league titles or European competitions.
Talks of a different European League had been made since around the year, 1998, but were abolished due to it (the league talks and ideas) not having a solid make of what it would entail. In 2009, Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez championed the idea, and as to what it would entail. Thus a skeleton of sorts was in the works.
In 2009, Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger speculated also that a Super League would become existent in the future of the footballing world within some 10+ years due to revenue pressure on the continent’s ELITE clubs.
Arsene Wenger said “Maybe in 10 years, you will have a European league...the money that will be coming in from the Champions League will not be enough for some clubs.” Hmmm!!!
Florentino Perez’s objective then, was to make sure the “best Teams” always faced themselves in football. The best here, to which he refers, are the Top Clubs known, or the Top Clubs who have made themselves known over the history of football, from the top leagues. Hence, to him, the best quality must always face the best quality.
This was said to ascertain that Top clubs faced each other ANNUALLY. Therefore UEFA readjusted the structure of the UEFA Champions League after the proposed Super league plan was rejected.
In October 2020, FIFA also proposed a replacement for the UEFA Champions League called the EUROPEAN PREMIER LEAGUE. With no relegation involved the league would be similar to the Major league Sports competitions in the U.S.A. However, in January 2021, FIFA and all the six Continental Confederations of football (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) issued a statement rejecting the formation of any breakaway “European Super League”. Any player or club involved in such League would be banned from any competitions organized by FIFA or the six confederations.
Sunday 18th, April, 2021
ESL FOUNDING AND ANNOUNCEMENT
Now, The European Super League was founded on the 18th of April, 2021. With it being Chaired by:
Chairman:- Florentino Perez (President of Real Madrid),
Vice-Chairman:- Andrea Agnelli (Chairman of Juventus),
Vice-Chairman:- Joel Glazer (Co-chairman of Manchester United),
Vice-Chairman:- John W. Henry (Director of Liverpool),
Vice-Chairman:- Stan Kroenke (Owner of Arsenal).
All this to change as the story went on...
The competition would have Fifteen Permanent “founding Clubs” and an additional five clubs would be able to qualify annually based on the previous season’s performance. Making it 20 clubs in total.
The organization also planned to launch a corresponding Women’s Super League” as soon as “practicable”. Talks were made of it holding before or during August 2021.
Twelve Clubs had agreed to participate as permanent members. They were:
The English Big Six:- Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Three Top Italian Clubs:- Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan.
Top Three Spanish Clubs:- Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
French and German clubs: It was rumored that PSG, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund had reportedly declined to join the competition. But on Monday, the Chairman; Florentino Perez said they weren’t invited yet, at his interview with El Chiringuito TV. And that even if they declined an invitation the league would still go on.
The Participatory Money and Prize Money
Each participating club was estimated to earn over $400 million(£290 million) for entering the competition (reported by the NEW YORK TIMES). These could increase with the league revenues. With the Prize money exceeding that of any other competition. WOW !!!!!
American Investment bank: “JPMorgan Chase” was also reported to be the Major financial backer of the European Super League. According to leaked documents, the 15 founding clubs of the Super League would share 32.5 percent of commercial revenues. With a further 32.5 percent being distributed between all 20 participating teams, including the five invited teams. 20 percent of revenues would be allocated based on “merit” based on performance in the Super League. And 15 percent would be shared based on broadcast audience size. Clubs would also be allowed to retain all revenues from gate receipts and club sponsorship deals.
Reception and Criticism
The announcement had generated majorly negative, heavy criticism and antagonistic replies from most people involved in the football world. Be it the Government leaders, League owners, Club owners, football managers, football players, retired football players and the fans. From UEFA, The Football Association and The Premier League of England, the Italian football federation and Serie A of Italy, the Royal Spanish football federation and La liga of Spain. They issued a joint statement that they would “consider all measures available to them, at all levels, both judicial and sporting” to prevent the EUROPEAN SUPER LEAGUE from proceeding further.
Notable figures: Gary Neville (former Manchester United defender current co-owner of Salford City) heavily criticized the Super league proposals, stating his disgust and called on the English FA to heavily penalize the teams involved. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the Super league would be damaging for the sport of football and called that participating clubs should answer their fans, who are not in support of the league. French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed criticism and was happy French Clubs refused to participate.
Monday, 19th April, 2021
Florentino Perez interview and dilution of the negative reviews
On Monday, Florentino Perez at an interview with El Chiringuito TV. Answered most of the questions people wanted answers to.
He said football was finished and people, especially the young weren’t watching enough football and it was weighing on the finances of the footballing world. He spoke about reducing the time (90 minutes) for football and emphasized that the Super League would be saving football.
He argued that the Super League will generate income across football since it would increase overall revenues in football thus allowing bigger clubs to invest more in smaller clubs through transfer fees, essentially arguing that excluded clubs would act as feeder teams for Super League clubs, and an annual "solidarity" payment of €400,000,000 to the other clubs which would offset some of the money lost due to the devaluation of domestic and international television rights due to the Super League.
He also stated the Super League is "not a competition for the rich, it's a competition of solidarity to save football, by the great and the modest."
Criticisms and receptions
Football fans, Government officials, Retired footballers amongst others continued in the protest of the Super League.
The Leeds United squad wore a warm up t-shirt that said: ‘Champions League: EARN IT. Football is for the fans.’ before facing Liverpool FC.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, President of the football association, said that he "shared the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."
Non-Super League Clubs also protested and expressed their anger. Everton Football club released a statement criticizing the "big six" English clubs joining the Super League and accused them of "betraying" football supporters across England. Some Italian clubs called for the Italian clubs participating in the Super League to be banned from the Serie A.
Broadcasters; Amazon, BT Sport, Facebook, DAZN, SKY all denied being in terms to broadcast the Super League. Mediapro, who hold the rights to La Liga and the Champions League in Spain, told Reuters, that "television broadcasters won't break their contracts with UEFA and national leagues to join the breakaway European Super League project," and also predicted that the Super League will fail.
Tuesday 20th, April, 2021
As of yesterday. The protests had gathered more attention and strength with All Big six England clubs announcing their leaving the European Super League. Manchester City pulled out first at 9:35 BST (British Summer Time) announcing their withdrawal from the ESL.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspurs and Arsenal announced their withdrawal around 10:55pm. With Arsenal going further to emphasize that their joining was as a result of their desire to protect Arsenal, the club their fans love, and to support the game we love through greater solidarity and financial stability.
they added “Stability is essential for the game to prosper and we will continue to strive to bring the security the game needs to move forward.”
They added that the recent footballing system needs to be fixed.
Chelsea confirmed their withdrawal 12:45am.
With the England Big Six Clubs leaving the European Super League. The hostility from the English supporters to this clubs reduced but some punishment or recompensation is expected.
Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward announced his resignation and will step down at the end of the year, the club announced.
Wednesday 21st, April, 2021
So far Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan have also decided to drop out of the Super League on Wednesday, leaving the new competition on the verge of extinction before it even started.
The remaining Clubs are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.
Also, as the complete dissolving of the European Super League seems eminent, several big clubs are asking the UEFA for sanctions against the 12 clubs.
All that so far.
THOUGHTS ON THIS
This whole competition was just a way of the over time acclaimed “Big Clubs” to grab extra money of astronomical worth for themselves. A huge cash grabbing scheme that went beyond the basic principles of playing based on merit and qualification. Actually selfish.
But, the Major issue here was that this was an insulting gesture and slap to the face of the Footballing World. This would have created a big gap between the Big Clubs and the other clubs in their domestic leagues and other European competitions financially. Creating such “unfair gap” was the main reason why this competition was so opposed, alongside the fact that it would have taken the culture of merit and qualification that is known when it comes to European Competitions.
Also, most of these “Big Clubs” haven’t been playing exciting football enough to earn approval for this type of competition.
Don’t get me wrong, to see top clubs face each other is always a fans dream. To see them go against each on the football pitch with their Top quality players will always be what we fans, crave. But not always this and most especially NOT THIS WAY. The issue of distribution of wealth weighed heavy also.
So far the competition, with each day, looks more of it being dissolved. It’s good that it has also made the UEFA re-evaluate itself and they’re working on a restructure of the UEFA Champions League to bring in more Clubs based on merit and qualification and more pay.
Just because revenue dwindled in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, that was no excuse. The “Big Clubs” should have been more patient. This was the wrong time to pull something like this.
Anyway, since fans could be returning to stadiums whilst observing social distancing, and since the powers that be are also creating new laws that will prevent something like this from happening in the coming days and years. The future looks really good for the footballing world.
With love from a football fan❤️
What are your thoughts on this competition ? Leave them in the comments section !!!!