When I was younger, I grew up in a nicer neighborhood. However, while I grew up in a nice area, my family never had the similar financial stability that many of my friends had. I was friends with them for most of my school life until they split from me simply because I did not have enough money to do the things they could afford to do. Now, what an amazing analogy this is to make a breakdown of the most recently announced league.
A combination of 12 of Europe’s largest clubs announced a plan to create their own league, the European Super League. This competition is supposed to be a replacement to the current UEFA Champions League. The league is expected to take place in the year 2023, but there has been plenty of push back from fans and players around the world. But, before we dive into that, let me breakdown how my story relates to the league.
As I stated, this was a created league by different clubs around the league. This was not sanctioned by FIFA or UEFA. These are some of Europe’s highest grossing clubs in their respective countries. The 12 teams are as follows (league in parenthesis): Arsenal (EPL), Chelsea (EPL), Liverpool (EPL), Manchester City (EPL), Manchester United (EPL), Tottenham Hotspur (EPL), Atletico Madrid (La Liga), Barcelona, (La Liga), Real Madrid (La Liga), AC Milan (Serie A), Inter Milan (Serie A), and Juventus (Serie A).
Now, to tie back to my story, these clubs are my wealthier friends in school. They all created their own friend group leaving me behind with me being the Everton’s, Sevilla’s and Schalke’s of the world. These clubs, while they helped build the sport, will never receive an invite to this league simply because they do not have enough financial status to be involved. However, before I get too much of my opinion involved, let me show the purpose of the league.
The UEFA Champions League has been one of the best competitions since its’ inception in 1992. The purpose of this competition was to put Europe’s best clubs in a group stage/tournament style competition to see who the best club in Europe. But to get to this point, these ESL clubs had to get by some smaller tier clubs in the group stages. While it was a great opportunity for these smaller clubs to get international television recognition, it really brought now financial income to them. Because the larger clubs can afford better talent, this competition was never that exciting until the quarterfinals. Viewership has decreased with the tournament, which in turn lowers the amount of money the winning club takes back with them.
Therefore, the European Super League was created to correct this issue. Viewership was down because no one cared about the small battles. People want to see El Clasico every week or the Manchester Derby. That is what the ESL will give you. Plus the participating clubs would be making more money than what they currently make in the UEFA Champions League. Another bright side to this league is it would allow for us to see the biggest clubs every year have a chance at being champion’s which could give us more parity to the league. As for the good side of this tournament, that is about it.
Here is the bad side of it all. Let me clarify before I dive into this: all information being given at this point is alleged and has not been officially confirmed by UEFA or FIFA as of the date this was published. The first big issue with this league is UEFA has threatened to not allow the participating ESL clubs to play in their own domestic leagues. If this league currently took place this year, Leicester City would be leading the Premier League, Sevilla would be on top of La Liga and Atalanta could be taking home the title in Serie A. The two leagues among the five major European leagues who have declined participation in the ESL is Ligue 1 and Bundesliga.
While this would allow for new champions to be crowned more frequently, the quality of the league would shrink. Plus stories like the 2015-16 Leicester City club that won the league would not be as great of a story.
Another issue with the ESL is there is rumor that players could be potentially banned from representing in international tournaments and representing for their national teams. That means the world would not get to see players like Messi, Ronaldo, Van Djik, Pulisic, etc. playing in the World Cup or Summer Olympics because of FIFA not approving the league. As an American fan, not getting to watch some of the world’s best not be allowed in the competition ruins these events, especially for new fans. Players like that are some of the reasons new people attempt to watch the sport. Why do you think Major League Soccer continues to sign older players? It gets the views.
The biggest and most glaring issue of them all is that this is a spit in the face of all the clubs that helped build soccer/football to what it is today. A club should be able to get into a league based on their talent, not because of their bank account. Arsenal and Tottenham are not even in Europa League contention. How is it fair they get to play with the new, shiny toy? Soccer was built on the backs of poor people trying to find an escape from their everyday life. We have seen it evolve to what it is today. But with this new league, all that hard work to get us to the point we are today will have been for nothing.
The main point of all this is going to be obvious. Money still continues to talk better than any mouth ever could. It does not matter what we, as the fans, have to say. If there is enough euros to get your club to this league, you know they are going to take it.