How football died and resurrected in 56hrs
As someone who dips into football here and there (mainly to impress bae), Sky Sports breaking the news of the new European Super League completely went over my head.
The news broke minutes to midnight on Sunday the 18th of April and shortly after, fans, pundits, footballers and journalists of the football world took to Twitter expressing their outrage and disappointment.
#RIPFootball was trending on Twitter in the UK. On my timeline it was near impossible to find anyone pleased with the news. I said enough is enough and the inquisitive journalist within me decided to find out what all of the noise was about. To help me understand I spoke to some trusted football lovers, future pundits if you ask me. Thanks to Tim Adams, Sports Journalist at The Blizzard, BAE (who’s identify shan’t be disclosed) and Rellik Tha Don, Presenter of the brand new podcast Tracks and Tactics I got the lowdown on all things European Super League, whom according to them… wasn’t such a super idea.
It seems the boys were right as within days the European League crumbled. Clubs released statements one by one announcing their departure from a league that lasted 56 hours. What on earth happened and why were things overturned so quickly.
Let me break everything down for you…
So, what exactly was the proposed European Super League?
In a response to UEFA’s Champion’s League reform, Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez decided to create the European Super League, funded by JP Morgan. The league would consists of 12 founding member teams from across England, Spain and Italy: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.
Described by Tim Adams as a “cash cow”, these teams would have received million of dollars to play in the private league with no relegation or promotion.
So, what was the issue?
In the Premier League “top 4 was something to work towards because you get to play in the Champions League. If you have a Super League where you can’t get relegated, what’s the point… it just creates meaningless football” says Rellik Tha Don. In agreement Tim Adams argues that “there is no incentive to do well in your domestic league if you are already anointed in a position because of the size of (your) club commercially”, thus taking away the competitiveness of the game.
So, where does the money come into it?
In what was already a dire situation for many football teams, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about greater financial strain to football. According to a study by KMPG twenty of the biggest clubs in Europe have lost over £1bn in revenue in the last year. A key loss has been matchday income which has affected teams like Liverpool who have seen a 14% decrease in matchday revenue.
“By paying wages of astronomical figures they (the clubs) have essentially caused this upon themselves and now they’re trying to create a Super League… to get out of their debt” says Adams.
The issue lies with the people at the top going against everything that football stands for to fill their pockets. Rellik further emphasises the issue by stating that, “them man see dollar signs and pounce, they didn’t grow up watching the game, they didn’t grow up caring about a team”.
English fans saw between the lines and responded to the announcement of the Super League with outrage across social media and on the ground protests.
On Tuesday 20th April Chelsea supporters protested outside Stamford Bridge before their match against Brighton.
Withing 56hrs the European Super League had folded, with the big 6 English teams revoking their membership making the league unable to go forth.
@Arsenal posted their official apology to the fans stating:
“It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.
“As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.”
Whilst this is the result the fans wanted, many issues still remain and opposition against the owners of these English clubs continue. On Twitter #KroenkeOut (Arsenal owner) and #GlazersOut (Man Utd owner) have been tweeted amongst many fans who claim that these owners know nothing about English football. In Manchester fans have gone further and stormed Carrington Training Ground against the Glazer’s.
With the football world on edge at the moment reform is clearly needed. The German model of ownership where fans have a share seems attractive but will the big dogs ruling over the English teams take a step back?