Football greed proposal - Euro Super League

You might have seen some reports that some of the main money spinning football teams in Europe are trying to breakaway from UEFA and possibly FIFA to create a European Super League - seems like around 12 clubs have entered into serious discussions and made some sort of promises.

Problems - 12 teams just isn’t going to cut it, it’ll be incredibly expensive for fans to travel to so many games in other countries, there is no promotion or relegation, you are either in it, or you are not and this really undermines the concept of football since this has been a central part of the game for over a century.

I can’t see it working, because most of the t.v money comes from the passion of playing the top teams in your home country - the Champions league is a real wealth pot - but it is still predicated on the variety of teams being able to qualify for that competition - without the constant and uncertain changes that come from the fickle world of League football, it just means the fans of the teams joining the Euro Super League - ESL teams will not get the bragging rights of trouncing the team from the next team in the next town over.

The other issue is that quite a few of the teams that have decided to participate - albeit only in principle only - is that those teams are not even the best teams in each of those countries, they are merely the richest by capitalisation - so in effect what is being proposed is a ESL of next best teams - seems a bit pointless to me.

On the other hand, its a bit rich for UEFA and FIFA getting their panties all bunched up over allegations of pure greed - both of these organisations have a very long and very ignominious history corruption on the absolute grandest of scale and both have failed time and again to reform their criminal behavior.

It could be a trojan horse to force FIFA and UEFA into reform or it could be for real, but there really needs huge changes in International Football Organisation to return the sprot to credibility - this years World Cup, as have pretty much most over the last 20 years or more have had their venue decided solely on bribery - resulting in this years competition to be played in summer in Qatar and its an open secret that Qatar simply bought the FIFA representatives it needed to ensure the result for which it had paid.

There could easily be a split in football, where players are banned from performing in competitions operated by the rival football body - and this is where FIFA and UEFA could be completely undermined - they are literally only concerned about access to free money that they can pocket.

I get all the outrage, but read this on Wiki, and the long long history of corruption in FIFA and UEFA, the lack of meaningful reform and then make up your own mind - but neither of these organisations are fit and proper to run a newspaper kiosk, let alone a multi-billion dollar industry.

I will also add another small point, the UK footballing authority is divided between the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League (PL)

The second named organisation pretty much did in England what is being proposed as a European Super League, and loads of people were bitter about that - so again, it was all about getting a greater share of TV rights - and the money that comes with it, to the expense of sharing more widely across the whole of the FA such that smaller teams are all struggling just to survive financially whilst PL teams have massively increased and enriched themselves at their expense.

What goes around comes around - greed, corruption, and complaints when someone does to you what you have done to others.

Should fill the sports news for a while I think

The backers behind this might be disregarding one thing: Just because huge teams are playing in this league will fans care? The Champions League draws viewers all across Europe and the world. Smaller clubs have a small but not insignificant chance of going deep in the CL. Their fans continue to watch rounds after their clubs are eliminated. Why would they watch a competition where they arent invited? This is obviously a money grab.

Yup, just like the corrupt money grabs of the English Premier League, FIFA and UEFA - and look what a state the Scottish Premier League has left in Scotland, their league is now a joke with only 2 teams of any note that would struggle to make in in the English Championship.

I find it is funny, because the outrage is being stirred up by the greediest most corrupt sporting organisations in the world.

I do wonder like you if the fans will just ignore the whole thing - I hope all of them lose their shirts on it, maybe a massive split will force organisational changes and reform in the utterly corrupt FIFA and UEFA.

This competition has been mooted for years but the reluctance of the top English clubs from stepping away from a hundred years of history was blocking it. Now they’ve given it the ok this will go ahead and it will be a disaster.

One of the beautiful aspects of football in Europe is the pyramid where some clubs can go from being among the best team around fifty years ago to languishing in the lower divisions now. Where some clubs can go from having no glory in history to suddenly winning it all. The relegation/promotion aspect makes football great because it is a story-telling sport.

This European Super League won’t have relegation because there won’t be a second tier league for new clubs to take the places of the ‘founding clubs’. There’s too much money involved to send any of these clubs back and what if their domestic leagues refuse to have them waltz back after breaking away? Furthermore what constitutes ‘super’. There are teams signing up to this that are clearly there on commercial name only because they haven’t been doing much on the pitch in recent years.

And I’d add lastly that it will get boring very quick. Manchester United vs Real Madrid is a blockbuster matchup in the Champions League because they rarely play each other. So when they do it’s two giants fighting for a crown. If the same teams are going to play each other all the time the glamour of big games goes out of the window.

To me its a potential nuclear standoff: would FIFA, UEFA, and the Premier League DARE to banish the top clubs and the top athletes in the sport from their own leagues, the UEFA champions league, and the World Cup rendering them a joke? Yeah it’s a money grab but I think those who think a Super League will fail underestimate the participatory clubs fan following, many of who will travel long distances to support their teams. Manchester United is currently worth $4.2 billion; can you imagine if this gets pulled off and there is zero fear of relegation how much they could be valued at for resale?

The only Achilles heel is if lets say Tottenham are in less than ideal form and end up 4-16 in such a league, I don’t their fans would appreciate that regardless of the level of competition. And then even if there is relegation, promotion once kicked out will be extra hard and might alienate supporters who thought their club was “elite”.

I LOVE that these teams are sticking it to a corrupt and monopolistic organization like UEFA. Without some hope of other teams looking outside with a chance to get in, it could destroy lower level teams to true American style minor league status. Very interesting!

Football’s ability to corrupt will never cease to amaze me, I guess. I follow mostly Spanish football, but it seems to be similar on most other European countries. Reading from afar I see that South America and Africa are rotten too. FIFA and UEFA are corruption distilled, but distilled from the national federations, which are in turn concentrated club corruption. Only the Olympic “movement” comes close to that, corruptionwise. So anything that teaches those at the top a lesson is welcome by me, but if the lesson is thought by the next level of corruption I can only see a big heap of shards at the end.
Concerning this proposed ESL one evident problem, as has been stated, is that no relegation is foreseen. Perhaps they will include it later, but even if they do a big problem is that a short series of bad luck could leave big regions in Europe without representation in the ESL. Here is a map of Spain showing the provinces that have never had a club in the Primera División (further down a map of the current members by region). Such an imbalance would make the ESL hard to sell to a lot of regions or countries if replicated at the continental level.
On the other hand what has become the Champions League today started as a tournament co-sponsored by a French newspaper (L’Equipe) where some teams participated by invitation. Real Madrid won five times in a row, Barça won some UEFA Cups in the meantime, but they have much less prestige today. I guess if Real did participate in the ESL Barça would feel obligued to participate too, for fear of giving Real again a chance to brag about being the Kings of Europe 70 years later. That would be as bad a reason as any, and I guess in other coustries similar stories would unfold.
So yes, greed, and corruption. But also fear of missing out, envy, jealousy. Who knows how much good can come of so much bad.

so this new league would be pretty much an euro MLS then ?

I’m not sure that’s a comparison that the Europeans would adopt, but yes - it’s a pan-European league of, at the moment, 12 clubs, although I’ve heard they plan to structure it as two side-by-side leagues of 10, with a knockout competition of the top finishers.

Are there any football fans who think this is a good idea? Admittedly I haven’t looked too hard, but I’m yet to find one who doesn’t hate it and think it will be a disaster.

I think that this is largely modelled on the US concept of sports franchises where there is no promotion or relegation, distances to travel are huge so tv subscriptions and tv advertising is where all the money is.

If that’s the case, I’m sure that the idea of wealthy individuals buying out franchises will be extremely unpopular amongst fans.

Be interesting to get a US sports fans perspective on how such a franchise system works.

Some unknown percentage of American footy fans are proponents of pro/rel. I’m one of them and hate the Super League proposal to give 15 of its clubs immunity from failure.

A closed top tier could do untold harm to the thousands of clubs in thousands of communities across Europe.

Being “European clubs” is mostly an artifact title these days, in the same way Cavalry regiments still exist in many armies but have no horses.

These are large entertainment concerns, who earn revenue from all over the world and attract talent similarly.
The pandemic has shown them they can make money even if games are behind closed doors.

Someone upthread said that RM V MU is big because it’s rare. However the people and the fans whose money they are after think it should be a regular feature.
This is frankly for the fans in Beijing and Boston ie where the money comes from not Bristol and Bari.
Time are a changing.

But earn eye watering amounts of money from Asia, Middle East and N America.

What happens if Arsenal can’t compete on the field in this league? Are they immune from any consequences of their failure until the other owners decide to vote them out? Meanwhile they take up a spot that maybe Leicester or Leipzig could better occupy if merits on the pitch counted for more than commercial success.

I don’t understand futbol fans who contentedly decide that “we’re only gonna be interested in these 15 clubs” and grant them immunity from a fair process that has worked for a century and a half.

It will be a bit like the Rugby Six Nations tournament (an annual tournament of six fixed european international teams). Italy have never been remotely good enough to compete with the other nations, and get walloped every year, but there’s no relegation so we’re stuck with them. It’s a farce.

Italy would wallop Georgia or Romania, (the 2 most likely replacements) though.

Or think of any perennial doormat in an American professional league. The difference between Six Nations and the ESL is that there are lots of clubs currently better than Arsenal on the field. Arsenal is getting immunity because of past successes on the field and their commercial viability. I believe that something important is lost when those things matter more than current competency.

JP Morgan is financing the league, apparently.

I also don’t understand fans who simply throw up their hands “whattaya gonna do?” when the one major sport in the world that uses a system of meritocracy decides to jettison said system at the very top because Stan Fucking Kroenke wants to get richer.

I don’t think this is entirely fair - they beat Scotland in their very first Six Nations match, and in 2007 they won 2 matches and finished 4th overall (their highest to date). It is true that in most years they have struggled, with 2021 being a particular low point, but I think they deserve to be there - it’s not like teams can afford to take them lightly. Most importantly, as already pointed out, there is no-one queuing up to replace them, whereas there are several teams this season in the Premier League who can clearly demonstrate better current form (i.e. the league table) than both Arsenal and Spurs.

What can the average fan do? I’m very much a casual fan - I hardly ever buy a ticket for a game, I’ve never paid to watch one on TV, so the only financial contribution I make towards professional football is the rare occasion on which I choose to watch a live match at the pub (which, rather indirectly, feeds the system). I certainly won’t be paying to watch this new league, if it happens, but no doubt many millions of people will.