If, like me, you despise the increasingly pointy nature of the pyramid that exists in world club football, news of the proposed European Super League will have you livid.
In essence, a group of the wealthiest and most powerful clubs in Europe have come together with a shared vision to create an elite league, outside current competitions such as the Europa and Champions Leagues.
While there is no doubt that the football played would be of the highest quality and the matches featuring some of the biggest names in the game, the plan, supported by some of the most famous clubs on the planet, is an abomination in light of the already widening chasm between the haves and the have-nots.
English football stands to play a significant role in the competition with the so-called ‘big six’ all in theoretical agreement to establish the league. Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs will make up almost a third of what is mooted to begin as a 20-team competition.
Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid are also aligned to the breakaway league, as are Juventus and both Inter and AC Milan. That leaves a hypothetical gap for another eight clubs and whether French and/or German powerhouses choose to join the rebels in the coming days or weeks remains a hot topic of debate.
UEFA’s stance on the proposed league is categorical and clear, describing it as “a cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs…the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
Before falling for any altruistic rhetoric in regards to the aims and benefits of the league and the upcoming fabrications that its participants will no doubt offer, be sure to understand that the entire exercise is nothing more than the cash grab of all cash grabs.
The numbers circling around potential windfalls for the clubs involved are frightfully scary. Each club had reportedly been offered 3.5 billion euros and with an assured mad scramble over broadcasting rights set to take place in the very near future, figures near three times that amount have been used in some estimates.
Each and every club currently invested in the breakaway league should be utterly ashamed of their behaviour and the cringe-worthy statement offered by Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League.
“Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”
Oh please! Now I have heard it all.
Efforts to further profiteer from football when their presence has already placed immense strain on smaller clubs within their own domestic leagues should alert football fans around the globe to the reality of the depths to which powerhouse clubs appear willing to sink in order to gain financial benefit.
Many lower league English clubs are on their knees or dead and buried thanks to the growing power and influence of the EPL’s top end. Clubs right across Europe continue to suffer the financial strains of an ever increasing distance between themselves and the mighty few, who win the league year after year while becoming richer and richer in the process.
Billions are invested in assembling massive squads, further money is made by loaning out players to all corners of the globe and in the end, European football is worse for the entire exercise.
Fans of the powerhouses cheer when silverware is won, unknowingly contributing to the death of what once was the purest and most sincere contest on the planet; the game where a person from the most humble and often poor origins could take on the world and use their skilful control of the sphere to undermine all privilege, class and status.
Sadly, the game has continued to morph down a dangerous road in recent times and the steadfast determination of the European Super League organisers to plough ahead with the most offensive of competitions perhaps explains categorically how little the clubs involved actually care about ethics and their broader responsibilities.
Should the competition come to fruition in time for its slated August kick-off, UEFA had best remain firm on its determination to punish the participants. FIFA would do well to weigh in and offer its full support all the while using the 2022 World Cup as a significant bargaining tool.
What I find most alarming of all is the fact that the Champions League was not enough for these clubs — an elite competition rebranded in 1992 to provide a platform for the best of the best to compete on a more regular basis.
Now, after the clubs’ financial statements and the players themselves have enjoyed the riches of Champions League football for near 30 years, they want more. More money, more market share and more glory all at the expense of clubs battling away in promotion and relegation fights and participating in the world game in the way we all love.
What the fools fail to see is that more and more of those clubs will continue to die and there are only so many Manchester Derbies and El Clasicos you can play each season.
Football is a game for all, no matter how big or small. However, intentionally squeezing out the small in order to increase profit and revenue at the top end is simply elitist, arrogant and criminal.