Twelve European clubs announced their intention to commence a breakaway European Super League (ESL) on Sunday night. With widespread condemnation by other football associations and fans, we must ask – is the Super League motivated by money?
What is the Super League?
Twelve clubs have signed up to the ESL – six of them from the English Premier League.
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, will join. So will AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid join the new league.
These twelve, and three more, will be the Founding Clubs of the league. Five more teams, relegated and promoted each year, will also join the 20-team competition.
The founding clubs want a new midweek competition with teams continuing to compete in national leagues.
Essentially, this new league would rival UEFA’s Champions League competition, one of the biggest club tournaments in the football world.
Why Create a Super League?
While the official statement states reasons like providing higher-quality matches and additional financial resources, money may be their main motivation.
Indeed, the Founding Clubs insist that this new league will bring in a more sustainable football. They declare that they’ve taken this “sustainable commercial approach” to re-evaluate financing football.
The existing European football economic model has crumbled under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. And they present Super League as a resolution for this breakdown of financial resources.
But, in reality, these clubs may be enticed with the starter share of €3.5bn (£3bn) that each will receive.
The ESL promise “uncapped solidarity payments” to European football, which will be higher than those generated by current European competitions.
Is the Super League Motivated by Money?
The new league has been condemned by fans, football gurus and legends, and other football bodies alike. Why such widespread denouncement?
One reason may be the prospect of gatekeeping. With 15 teams in the ESL never facing the prospect of qualification or relegation, they may monopolize the entire sport.
Indeed, the Premier League says the rules “attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit”.
Football, essentially a street sport, would become a closed event, and the privilege of 15 elite clubs.
Institutions like UEFA and FIFA do already kind of tyrannize football revenues. However, ESL only shifts the monopoly over to another faction of the richest of the rich.
Introducing such a “new” system can hardly challenge the tight reins that the rich hold over a sport they appropriated from the poor.
So, this may be just another case of football that is “created by the poor stolen by the rich”.