I had been against the idea of writing about the European Super League. To be honest, I am just as confused now as I was when the announcement was made about the whole thing.
However, after Leicester City’s FA Cup win and Manchester United fans’ protest, I decided that it was about time that I wrote about it.
To get to the bottom of this, I decided to use an exam-style technique to truly find answers about ESL. I decided to analyse it by looking at the positives and negatives of the whole thing, in the hope that I can come to a conclusion.
Was the idea that bad?
It was bad but only to a certain extent. My biggest issue was the lack of competition. In this competition, no team could get relegated. This means that the ESL would have been a closed shop for Europe’s elite clubs.
This would have reduced the competitive nature of the domestic leagues, as teams would not need to qualify in the top 4 to get into Europe. It would also mean that teams need not completely focus on their domestic leagues, instead choosing to focus on the ESL. This would create a watered-down product.
The lack of competitiveness is shown in the teams selected. Teams like Arsenal and Tottenham have been nowhere near as good as Leicester in the last couple of seasons, so why reward them with European positions because of their money and history. It would have made more sense if the best teams got in, not the richest.
This closed shop policy does not punish losing. Teams can finish last in the ESL and keep their place in the competition. Usually, in football, you are punished for losing. This whole league seems like a reward for playing, which ruins the competition aspect of the sport we all love.
But was there some good in it?
Yes! If I am honest, I understand the owners’ perspective just a little bit. The first thing that we should remember is that you do not own the football club, these billionaire owners own your football club. They bought your team as an investment and now they want to make as much money as possible.
From that perspective, the ESL is better for them than the Champions League. It has been reported that the teams in the Champions League share about £3.1bn. Some may say that is unfair on the big teams. Manchester United should not get the same prize money as a smaller team. If not for Manchester United and these other big teams, we would not have as much interest as we do. They deserve a larger piece of the pie.
Therefore, for them the ESL makes sense. Each team was reportedly going to earn about £300m just from being in the tournament. That is a lot of money, that would likely increase as the seasons went on.
Additionally, the idea of saying you want to see competitive matches like Liverpool vs Barcelona twice a year is something I can understand. I believe it is a greater spectacle when they face each other every few years as it creates excitement, but if you see it differently, that is fine. Then again, the competitive argument goes out of the window with the lack of relegation and the fact that the best teams will not compete, just the most powerful.
Should we have seen this coming?
A thousand percent. Both UEFA and FIFA had recently proposed something like the European Super League. UEFA proposed it in 2016 and FIFA proposed it in October 2020. So, was the outrage because it disrespected the fans, or was it because they would not be a part of it?
We must also look at these TV corporations. It is very funny that the people saying the ESL will kill the game for the fans are the same ones charging us obscene prices to watch these games. It seems more like they’re just angry that the ESL will affect their money.
I also blame us fans. Yes, us! How in the world did we get to a point where we allowed ticket, TV, merchandise prices to surge so aggressively over the last twenty years. No wonder these owners thought we would accept a Super League. We’ve accepted these prices for so long, they thought we would accept this too.
How do I see it?
This exam-style writing has not helped because I still have questions about the ESL. How much money were they going to give the lower leagues because teams are going out of business? I also want to know who the other teams would be and whether they could get relegated also? Would it replace the Champions League or run side by side? What would happen to both academy and women’s teams? Will the lack of TV money affect teams like Leicester City and West Ham?
However, just from reading different things I can say this. I support a revamp of the Champions League. Change is not always a bad thing and if the competition can be improved then why not make some changes.
Most importantly, I do not like my intelligence being insulted. Do not tell me this competition was created for competitive purposes because it absolutely was not. This is about money, power, and mostly greed.
Going forward, it remains to be seen if the competition will still go ahead, will the owners leave these clubs, and will there be any punishment for the teams involved?
After my initial surprise, I am now just intrigued as to what happens next.