The European Super League: The end of football as we know it!
By Kirsty Norfolk - May 2021
For 48 hours Tom Werner and John Henry, Joel and Avram Glazer, Roman Abramovich, Daniel Levy, Sheikh Mansour and Stan Kroenke held the future of British Football in their hands. Out of sheer greed to increase their billions the owners of Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Arsenal jeopardised the future of football, the success of their clubs, the trust of their players and managers, most importantly they betrayed the trust of their fans. Without consideration of the wider ramifications their actions would cause they signed up to project which would collapse modern football.
The proposed European Super League would enlist 12 of Europe’s most financially successful teams as ‘founder clubs’ forming a closed league in which no team could be relegated. The organisers claimed the ‘best clubs’ and ‘best players’ would play each other every week. Consequently, this would eliminate any ‘underdog’ factor and almost completely abolish the competitive nature of football as all the teams had nothing to play for, only money. As a result, the fans of these clubs felt overwhelmingly betrayed, the sport that was created by the working classes of Britain had now been ruined out of pure greed of their owners. Additionally, ticket prices would increase and access to these games would be limited as fans would have to travel into Europe, undermining all the values these devoted fans stood for.
In reaction to the breaking news on the 18th of April the FA, FIFA and UEFA proposed serious consequences and punishments if the six Premier League clubs made the scheme a reality. The FA and Premier League planned to ban the six clubs involved from the Premier League and FA Cup. Furthermore, UEFA would ban all the clubs involved from existing European competitions including the Champions League and the Europa League. As a result, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur would be eradicated from domestic and European football, forfeiting hundreds of years of football.
A particularly serious outcome of this Super League would be the economic fallout, these 6 clubs account for over half of the revenue the Premier League makes, this would mean the 14 remaining clubs in the league would be so financially disadvantaged the league would no doubt collapse.
In under 12 hours rumours began to circulate across the media claiming that Manchester City and Chelsea were beginning to have doubts. Monday Night Football saw Liverpool take on Leeds at Elland Road. Overshadowed by enraged fans protesting and passionate pundits like Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher voicing their opinions the match ended in a 1-1 draw. It almost seemed like the whole country celebrated Llorente’s 87th minute equaliser for Leeds, the so-called ‘Super League’ team had failed to beat the newly promoted club.
Within 24 hours all six clubs from the Premier League who had pledged their allegiance to the European Super League announced their retraction from the proposals, the fan’s voices had been listened to. Since then, no official punishment has been issued to any of the clubs and European Super League chief organiser and Real Madrid director Florentino Perez remains confident that the plans will go ahead in the future.
Where does this leave football? Arguably this move demonstrated and highlighted the control the financially elite have over football; for England, the future of the game is in the hands of only six clubs. However, this event has also illuminated the power of the fans. Since then, Manchester United fans have disrupted and protested against their owners, the Glazers and caused their 2nd May match against Liverpool at Old Trafford to be postponed. Consequently, action needs to be taken, these owners should be issued with a form of punishment whilst the fans of their clubs take up their individual issues. However, it is increasingly likely a move like this will happen again therefore the future of football hangs in the balance.