Civil war strikes the world of soccer: European Super League

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To say that the world of soccer is in absolute shock and chaos right now would be a huge understatement. As it was announced on April 18th, 12 of Europe’s best soccer clubs have made the decision to create a European Super League. This immediately raised red flags for every fan in the world. 

 

As the media began posting and covering the brand new announcement that shocked the world we got more and more information regarding this new League, and unfortunately, the more we learned the less we started to like it. 

 

The 12 founding clubs (plus 3 that haven’t agreed to participate), are Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Spurs, Arsenal, Internazionale, AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Real Madrid. Bayern Monaco, Borussia Dortmund, and PSG have not agreed to take part in the competition. 

 

As the list of teams began going viral, fans started pouring in front of the stadiums with banners, protesting the creation of such a league. “Created by the Poor, stolen by the Rich” became the iconic slogan of the protest, and soon enough every social media platform became polluted with pictures of this quote and others of fans united in protest. 

 

Before drawing conclusions, let’s analyze how this Super League would work. The first important thing  to address is who will be running the independent operation, and the answer is Florentino Perez, spanish businessman and owner of Real Madrid. Vice to him will be Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus. 

 

Any team who enters the league receives a bonus of nearly half a billion dollars. Furthermore, if they are to win the SuperLeague, an additional 350 million will pour into the teams budget. Cash is king.

 

The tournament would be run as a regular mid-week competition like the Champions League and Europa League, however the teams would be guaranteed a minimum of 18 games, much more than what they currently play with normal European competitions. This generates more revenue for teams who can sell their viewing rights and tickets to a wider audience. Cash is king. 

 

The 15 founding teams would be entitled to play every year, no matter their current or previous form. Another 5 teams would receive an invite to play and could then compete amongst the “best”. The clear problem with this structure is that the founding teams have no need to justify why they should play in the Super League via their performance. They don’t need to merit a spot as they can never be demoted and are guaranteed a hefty bonus check every year. 

 

This is what triggered fans to protest this League. Soccer is a sport based on merit and where you have to earn your right to compete amongst the best. Every domestic system is built that way and even European competitions require teams to qualify for them each year. 

 

Many fans also fear that the Super League would take away the thrill of big matches that only happen once or twice a year in the closing phases of the Champions League. Many have started to speak out about this. Gary Neville has made it clear he’s “disappointed in my Manchester United and Liverpool” and has attacked the organization at its roots. 

 

Alex Ferguson, widely regarded as the best coach of all time, said “

“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football”

— Sir Alex Ferguson

, which he has conquered with Manchester United during his coaching days. Manchester United player Bruno Fernandes tweeted, “dreams can’t be bought”, summarizing the situation pretty well with a few words. 

 

The Ultimatum from Uefa came soon after the announcement spilled all over the news. President Aleksander Ceferin said that “the players that will play in the closed league will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros”. UEFA also plans on banning the teams who join the Super League from the current and ongoing Champions League. 

 

Others came out on social media to speak. Hender Herrera, Mesut Ozil, David Beckham, Marcelo Bielsa, and many others publicly demonstrated where their loyalty lies. Top managers of clubs currently involved in the Super League like Jurgen Kloop, Pep Guardiola and Stefano Pioli have stated that they don’t believe in the organization and it’s not up to them or the players to make decisions for the club. 

 

Real Madrid star midfielder Toni Kroos spoke on a German podcast later during the evening and said that it was up to the players the Super League would never happen, and it rather makes for a good time to retire from the sport. Ironically, the same day that the SuperLeague announcement was made, Arsenal tied Fulham at home, Juventus lost against Atalanta, and Real Madrid tied Getafe. The ball never lies. 

 

In the midst of all this, teams have come out and openly requested the removal of the teams involved from domestic competitions, which would make a huge difference for the standings at the moment. Meetings are currency scheduled in Italy and Spain with all the teams but the ones involved to discuss the situation. 

 

The German teams of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have openly come out and said they will not go ahead with the Super League. The teams are mostly owned by fans as by law they must be 51% owned by fans. However it was never in doubt that they would not partake in the Super League. 

 

PSG is a different case as their president Nasser Al-Kelaifi is part of UEFA’s council and he was the one pushing for the 2022 World Cup to be hosted in Qatar. With FIFA supporting UEFA in this matter, it only makes sense for PSG to also pledge allegiance to UEFA and their new system for the Champions League. 

 

Only a day after the Super League was announced, UEFA launched their counter attack by passing a new system for the Champion League, making it bigger, with more games and more competition. (Starting in 2024/25). 

 

Out of all the chaos, Florentino Perez finally spoke out to the press. He addressed the issue but stated that this is something he must do to save soccer. He also spoke about financial struggles among other teams who need funds and addressed some marketing strategies and transfer rumours for the future of Real Madrid. Overall, it was nothing that would calm fans or reassure them that he was doing the right thing, but rather a speech coming from the mouth of a mad villain in a movie, sending chills down your spine. 

 

For now the situation remains in limbo, but surely the matter is not settled and much more will come up in the following days. Fans should remain united for the moment and continue to press for the SuperLeague to be repressed and canceled. While alone we stand no chance, united we can make a difference. If the sport we love has taught us anything it’s that the underdog has always got a chance, and that the poor and the rich are just two men like God made them once they are on a soccer pitch. #NOtosuperleague.