“Created by the poor, stolen by the rich.”
Never has this rung truer than now, as plans for the ultimate club competition were officially unveiled on Sunday. The European Super League has been established by 12 clubs from across the continent – a dream for few, a nightmare for the majority.
It is a revolution which has shocked the football world right to its core, shaking the very foundations of the sport. One which will go down in the history books – whether it goes through or not – as a defining moment in the long history of the game.
Worst of all, this is nothing new.
Talks of a European Super League have been circulating for years, edging closer and closer to becoming a reality. From dreams to fears of a super league, this is a concept long in the making, ready to be unleashed when the rich were ready to capitalise.
Perhaps it was a slippery slope, a kneejerk reaction or a meticulously planned project, but it all boils down to one motivating factor: money.
It is easy to see why Europe’s elite chose to cash in. Blockbuster ties every week, risk-free seasons and a guaranteed mouth-watering revenue for all involved. For the top one percent of clubs, it was a no-brainer in earning more money and becoming even larger brands, growing from strength to strength alongside the continent’s finest.
In theory, the European Super League is magnificent. In reality, it is disgraceful.
Football is a microcosm of society, so deeply engrained into cultures across the globe. The wealth of society is controlled by the elite, and the European Super League is replicating that toxic elitism and integrating it into the sport. Elitism that will make the rich richer, while other clubs suffer new financial hardships amidst the global pandemic.
It is a decision grounded on greed, selfishness and revenue, with no regard whatsoever for those in the sport who truly need financial support. A staggering €3.5 billion will be distributed to founding clubs, but why not to those in lower leagues and non-league?
Once a working man’s game, money has made football less accessible than ever. Shirts, tickets and TV subscriptions have become extortionately priced in the 21st century, as the latest project continues in the long line of financial exploitation of dedicated fans.
The league serves no other purpose than to make more money, drive revenue up across European football and grow to new heights. Football was never about the money, but the way it is going now, there are few other directions to go.
There is chaos in the world of football, not least between the Super League and the legitimate football authorities.
Both FIFA and UEFA have already strongly opposed the competition, threatening to kick clubs out of their own competitions, sue participants for extortionate settlements and prevent players from playing in their tournaments.
This is football politics in its most dramatised form, a war between the traditional institutions and the new establishment in the game.
Even with the elitism and conflict, there is perhaps no greater criticism than the disregarding of sporting merit.
No relegation, no equality and no chance of a classic underdog story. Never again will we see Leicester’s 2016 fairytale repeated, or the magic of the FA Cup for Wigan Athletic in 2013. Even the miracle of Munich for Chelsea in 2012, or FC Porto’s Champions League triumph in 2004: none of those would be possible on this elevated stage.
It represents a total disregard for the magic of football, what draws and compels millions of fans in from around the world. The beauty of a sporting language which is spoken globally, understood by all and drawn together by a simple ball.
There is a long way to go in this battle before we could even see the league get underway, but whatever follows, it will define the next decade of football.
It will prove who holds the power, who has the most influence and what matters most to players: pride or money.
Football is the beautiful game, but the European Super League is another disgusting tarnish on the sport.
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