Three weeks ago the football world was in shock when the announcement came for a new alternative European competition, the European Super League. The big teams or “crowd pullers” as they called themselves wanted to break away from UEFA and have their own league made up of Six premier league clubs, three LA Liga clubs and three Serie A clubs.
Keep in mind this breakaway league had been thought of in 1998. Since then, the proposals and ideas have been floated around time and time again. And the Number 1 instigator has been Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
The global pandemic accelerated everything, due to there being no fans in the stadiums, meaning no match day revenue, and with sponsorships from the previous season being withheld teams found themselves in dangerous financial positions.
Here is where the ESL looked appealing. Teams with the biggest fan bases would maximum on this, playing each other week in week out. This was solidified by the fact that taking part in this competition would guarantee teams $300 million every season. This is three times more than a champions league team is rewarded with.
Keep in mind these “big teams” wanted a bigger slice of the pie because of the lack of transparency from UEFA on how they spend the money.
How it was supposed to work
There would be 20 teams divided into two groups of ten the best three from each group would head automatically to the quarter finals leaving 4th and 5th going into a playoff. But here is the catch. 15 of the spots would be kept for the big clubs aka founding members. Meaning there is no relegation, just constant reward for participating. No sense of competition.
The beauty of football is the sense that a big team can be beaten. Not this safety net the big clubs wanted. On top of this the leagues would have been ruined because the clubs would keep their strongest squads to play in the ESL and have a weakened team play in their respective leagues. Their local leagues would have no priority.
With fan outcry, UEFA and Fifa whining and even the government in the UK grabbing the ESL by the horns, the fire was extinguished with all EPL clubs pulling out and apologizing to the fans. The fans are now more than ever united. Not wanting to make the club owners richer at their expense. Look at Manchester united. The fans held protests with the Liverpool vs Man United match being postponed. Fans make the difference, whether in a tiny village in Kenya to the boy in a dusty field in Rio. But are they really the winners? Let’s keep in mind that after the ESL pandemonium UEFA made a new champions league format which will take effect from 2024. (Stay tuned for that piece).
Bottom line: UEFA and FIFA only care about their pockets not the ESL craze and fighting real issues like racism or the human rights violations in Qatar for the upcoming World Cup. Sad to say that it’s all about the money.