A week ago today saw a bombshell dropped on European Soccer, the announcement of the ‘European Super League’. 12 of the biggest clubs in world soccer had decided to breakaway on their own and form a new closed shop competition. The 12 teams declared themselves as the ‘founding members’ of the new league. The league threatened to end European soccer as we know it and in turn earn these 12 teams a massive pay day. The teams involved are listed below:
Now, there is no arguing that these are some of the biggest teams and most successful clubs in soccer. However, for them to declare themselves as the biggest 12 teams stinks of self entitlement. Following the creation of the league, there was quite rightly a massive backlash from players, managers, coaches and most importantly fans. The announcement was met with fierce protests and demonstrations from fans across Europe and particularly in England. In this article, I am going to look at the events of the last week and discuss the impact that it has had on European soccer.
Greed of owners:
Without a doubt, the main reason for the proposed league was to do with money. Despite the vast amount of money involved in soccer, the coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on clubs. Clubs such as Barcelona and Real Madrid have found themselves in huge debt which is threatening the existence of these famous teams. As such, the owners saw this as a way to secure a big pay day and boost club finances. It was rumoured that the 12 clubs were each to receive $400 million upon signing up to the league. That is 4 times more than the Champions League winners took home in 2020.
It is a ridiculous amount of money and would have massively helped these big clubs. However, it would have destroyed the competitiveness that we see in the European game. As a result, these 12 clubs would have had such large sums of wealth that they would be able to pull away from the rest of European soccer permanently. Barring the 12 billionaire owners, this is something which no one in soccer wanted.
The announcement of the new league was met with a united backlash from everyone who has an interest in soccer. It is the first issue in years which has galvanised soccer fans in this way. The backlash was immediate and fierce. This was an attack on soccer as we know it, from people who don’t know or understand the sport. The 12 owners kept these plans hidden from their own managers who were as shocked as any when the announcement came. The owners have tried to change these great sporting institutions into pure money making businesses. This is not what soccer is about and because of this the fans made their feelings known.
They were not alone. Many players and managers spoke out including James Milner, Patrick Bamford, Bruno Fernandes, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool squad all shared statements on Instagram which criticised the league. This pressure was key in the league’s demise.
The pressure from fans and soccer pundits was too much and just 48 hours after it was announced, the league began to crumble. Two days after the announcement, we saw Chelsea and Manchester City pull out of the European Super League. Following this, the remaining English sides pulled out on the same evening. Fast forward 24 hours and all the teams apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid had pulled out. What followed was a string of PR exercises from the clubs as they all released statements with apologies. In my opinion, there is no genuine apology, they are just trying to save their club’s reputation.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was the driving force of the new league and so it is no surprise his side remains. This is purely because Madrid is estimated to have debt amounting to between $400 and $500 million. As such, it is no surprise that Perez is holding on in hope the league can progress. The two Spanish giants may remain but the league is without doubt gone. The European Super League will not go ahead.
Above all else, the impact of this new league has meant that these clubs have lost a lot of respect. Thanks to this, they have lost a lot of power within their domestic leagues. Adding to this, there is mounting pressure on the owners at these clubs to resign. It will be interesting to see if this pressure results in widespread job losses. Either way, this has been a hugely eventful week in European soccer.