European Super League: A short lived idea
UEFA’s executive committee was scheduled to convene on Monday, April 19th, everyone knew that the meeting had one subject matter: the approval of the reforms for the Champions League competition from 2024 onwards. However, a number of people had a different plan. Just the previous day, the Sunday Times and the New York Times released the news that 12 clubs had signed an agreement to disengage from the ruling body and form their own 20-team European Super League. News that catapulted the odds on all bookmakers affecting all those registered for a betting account without limits!
The reason behind the creation of the League
To put it in plain terms: the money. Due to the pandemic, the big clubs lost a lot of funding. Many of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. Barcelona alone has lost over 400 million Euros. To remedy that, they found investors and sponsors that would guarantee an income of a lot more funds than what they would get from their participation in UEFA’s competitions. All of the teams that signed up for the dissention had undergone several months of negotiations with the football authority, only to see that their needs and concerns would not be met.
So, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal from the UK, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain, and Juventus, Milan, and Inter from Italy decided to opt for the additional funding.
The format of the new competition would include guaranteed contracts for 15 clubs, while another 5 top clubs would participate under invitation. The rumors mentioned that teams like Porto, Benfica, and other sides that have played a significant part in semi-finals and finals were also considering to join.
Perhaps, it was Pep Guardiola that said it best: “It is not a sport if success is guaranteed.”
UEFA, along with all the governing bodies of international football (FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega SerieA, FIFA, and others) reacted immediately and fiercely. Teams were threatened with banning from all competitions and players were threatened with banning from their national teams.
The reactions became even greater when political authorities like President Macron and Boris Johnson opposed the notion. However, it would seem that the turning point was not the threats and the comments of those in seats of power. The turning point was the opposition by the fans themselves. Even the fans of the clubs that signed up for the charter did not support the idea.
Manchester City were the first to reconsider the issue and chose to set in motion the process required for them to disengage from the new League. Gradually all of the clubs did the same, putting an end to the idea of a separate European Super League. However, the consequences might be dire.
While the fans may have rejoiced that things will not change, owners and managers like Anielli and Ed Woodward resigned from their posts stating that their clubs are not financially salvageable and they did not want to be linked with the bankruptcy of, let’s say, Juventus. There may not be a European Super League, but most of these people will either need to dismiss all of their expensive and therefore top players to disengage from their contracts and hire lesser players. In other words, football will suffer when all the big names will refuse to sign up for less money than what they are getting now. And they have already said no to any reduction because of the pandemic.
So was it a correct move to dissolve the creation of a European Super League?
Did the project fall apart indeed?
Only time will tell but it seems that if the predictions of those managers that resigned come true, it will probably be those same fans that opposed the creation of the new league, that will demand its creation in the future, if they see their sides lose their privileges, or even get relegated to lesser categories, in punishment when they will not be able to pay the players what they are due.
On the other hand, if the funding that UEFA came up with for additional money comes along, then it will all be back to normal as soon as the final solution to the pandemic is implemented and the competitions get resumed without restrictions. It will be a subject for discussion for quite a while and, as always, we will keep you informed on all the developments through our news section.