European Super League Suspended: April 20th is widely celebrated by pot smokers across the world. But weed wasn’t the only thing that was being blazed. Plans for a Super League consisting of Europe’s top soccer clubs went up in a blaze only 48 hours after the announcement.
The Super League would have been an alliance of the world’s best, richest, and most popular soccer teams competing in an exclusive tournament. Under the current international soccer model, the best teams in Europe’s domestic leagues qualify for the UEFA Champions League, with a continental champion each year.
The Super League would directly steal from the Champions League, but unlike the latter, the 15 permanent franchises in the Super League would qualify for the competition every year no matter how bad their record was. In this scenario, the “closed” system resembles American major leagues like the NFL. Just as the New York Jets “compete” every year in the NFL, so, in the Super League, would Liverpool.
If the league had panned out it would have destroyed the international soccer system that fans know and love. The current system in place is far from perfect and has strayed from the days when it was a poor man’s sport. But the Super League would have further corrupted a sport that has had issues with the obscene amounts of money it already generates. The biggest brands in soccer including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Inter Milan were all supposed to be founding members of the new league.
Instead of being met with praise as the owners expected, fans took to the streets to protest the creation of the new league. From professional athletes, regular everyday citizens, to politicians joined together in condemning the Super League. Facing an angry mob outside their facilities, Manchester City was one of the first teams to pull out of the greed league. Followed by Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Inter Milan all having said they are negotiating exits.
Whose Idea Was the Super League?
A lot of criticism was being thrown at the owners of these prominent soccer teams, and fans around the world were repeatedly condemning the move for “Americanizing” the beautiful game. While it’s no secret that the average American pays no attention to European soccer the owners of these teams are some familiar names that have caused problems here at home.
Liverpool is operated by Fenway Sports Group, an American organization that also controls the Boston Red Sox. Arsenal is owned by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Los Angeles Rams and is famous for these types of greedy moves. Kroenke watched the Rams sit pitifully at the bottom of the NFL for a decade before forcing his way out of St.Louis to Los Angeles. Now his stadium that was built on taxpayer money spits out money like an ATM.
The Glazer family owns Manchester United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The whole Super League was washed with American influence and money. JP Morgan Chase was providing financial backing for the entire league prior to its collapse.
But what these Americans failed to realize was the immense meaning these teams have to the community. The Americans figured they could do what they have always done, ignore traditions and spit at fans because eventually the fans, whether they liked it or not, would have to accept the money grab. They assumed that fans would cheer for this tournament that would involve the money of the Champions League with the most popular teams no matter what their record was.
Because American pro sports lack relegation-promotion and have revenue sharing, bad teams don’t suffer the repercussions of dumb decisions. Do you believe the Browns, Jets, and Knicks would have been as bad as they were for so long if they had the fear of relegation looming over their shoulders? I certainly don’t and neither did Manchester city manager Pep Guardiola
“It’s not a sport if success is already guaranteed,” Man City manager Pep Guardiola said before the plan unraveled Tuesday. “It’s not a sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose.”
A Super League Ponzi scheme probably made sense to the American owners. Why be accountable and serve the community when there is money to be made?