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Why is there so much (deserved) animosity towards the European Super League?


Edit. This plan has since collapsed in embarrassing fashion due to massive resistence against it. Read on for why.

Twelve European football clubs (6 from England) have signed a letter of intent to form a new and exclusive European competition on top of the Premier League and European Champions League. To sum up the mood in much of England's football community, I'm gonna hand over to Gary Neville:


It's important to note that Neville isn't a shock-jock or a controversialist, far from it. He is known as one of the most measured and articulate ex-players of his generation. He's also played 400 games for Manchester United (his only club) and basically pretty much just called for his own team to kicked out of the Premier League on national TV. So yeah, it's a pretty f***ing big deal.

Football is a very traditional sport in this country with teams that have deep roots in (largely working-class) communities going back over a hundred and thirty years. A big part of that tradition is the belief in the pyramid system of sport as opposed to the franchise model.

In North America, it's accepted that team owners can buy their way into a league and move their team to a different city. I'm sure this can be controversial when it happens but the fact remains that membership of competition is decided in the boardroom and not on the pitch.

England, as with other European countries runs, a pyramid system where promotion and relegation are seen as an integral part of sporting meritocracy (and integrity). As a Burnley fan myself, I've seen my team play in all four levels of England's national professional leagues. When watching third and fourth-tier football I did have the hope that one day we could get in the Premier League and eventually we did. The idea of creating a separate elite competition where nobody else is allowed to participate no matter how well they do is seen as fundamentally at odds with the ethos of the game.

The best teams in Europe already compete against each other in the European Champions League, which runs concurrently with domestic competitions. You have to qualify for this though by good league performances from the previous year. Also, you can fail to qualify for it. And this element of doubt - even for the biggest hitters - is essential for the intrigue of sport. In recent years Atalanta, a small Italian team from just outside Milan, has gone as far as the Champions League quarter-finals. AC Milan (one of the breakaway clubs) hasn't qualified for the Champions League for a few years due to poor performance. Now their owner is fixing things so that poor performance doesn't matter. Teams from small countries like Portugal and the Netherlands have won European cups in the past and plenty of teams have known that (if you get everything right) you can have the dream of at least playing on the highest stage. All of this is now under threat as the super-elite ring-fence things to protect their franchise revenue... and also threaten the revenue of everybody else.

Football is run as a business, just as everything else is. The biggest, richest, and best-supported teams will always have huge advantages. However, football in this country has deep roots in local communities and ring-fenced elite competitions could mean that smaller local professional teams could go to the wall. I think this can be stopped but only by united action from governments, fans, and national associations.
Picklebobble2 · 56-60, M
The irony of this proposal though is that this situation already exists within the Premier League.

Most of the clubs proposing this breakaway league are already in the exalted position of being regular top six teams anyway !

The club fan was eliminated from the business model the second The Premier League was created !
Ticket prices went from £5 a match to upwards of £35. Almost overnight !
Pricing 70% of ‘Father and Son’ regular game goers completely out of the game.
And they’ve had it that way for what ? 30 years now ?
Then the ‘re-branding’ of The European Cup into The Champions League doing exactly the same thing !

I’m not surprised clubs are finally taking this idea on.
They’ve had to ‘doff their caps’ to Sky television for the same period of time (although I notice nobody’s mentioning how bloody expensive it now is to even watch your team on tv either !)

The death of fan based football

All these things enhanced these clubs while at the same time making it impossible for others to compete on the same level.
I was only pulled into discussion by the idea that meritocracy only works in the movies- I think an eternal source of frustration for me on this side of the pond is my neighbors think if the USA isn't a meritocracy it's at least close to one..

It's distantly removed from being one.
JoeyFoxx · 51-55, M
To paraphrase...

They are bottle merchants who hide from the fan base, having Zoom calls to create a breakaway league whilst lower tier leagues are struggling to make ends meet in the middle of a pandemic.

Neville hit it on the head.
JoeyFoxx · 51-55, M
Is it true that City and Chelsea are pulling out?
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@322755,Nyloncapes] City are also about to do the same and Ed Woodward has just resigned

Nyloncapes · 56-60, M
[@422868,Burnley123] think other 4 will think hard about this now, looks like it will be a flop this new league, can you imagine if fans were in grounds
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@322755,Nyloncapes] Yeah, there would be a lot of protests. Hopefully this stupid venture will collapse completely now.
Quetzalcoatlus · 46-50, M
Pay for play! It’s how things work in our economy. Meritocracy only works in the movies..
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@946009,Quetzalcoatlus] [quote]Meritocracy only works in the movies..[/quote]

I can't disagree lol. Though there are degrees of it.

[quote]Pay for play! It’s how things work in our economy.[/quote]

Correct but I think that is not a good thing, as anyone who has ever read my politics posts will know.
Quetzalcoatlus · 46-50, M
[@422868,Burnley123] I’m excited to see how that new league will do and there will have to be a championship tournie involving new and old leagues. It’ll be epic!!
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@946009,Quetzalcoatlus] More epic than your trolling or less epic? 😜
SW User
I'm not actually that opposed to it actually. It's just a continuation of what's been happening for years. I think I've actually gone off football to be honest, I rarely watch it anymore.
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@1190214,TUFKAL] Just because something is bad, doesn't mean that it can't get worse. Our league is still relatively competitive. If you were going to have a European League, you would need promotion and relegation.
SW User
[@422868,Burnley123] I don't think it will happen anyway.
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
[@1190214,TUFKAL] I hope you are right.
Burnley123 · 36-40, M

Chelsea pulling out and City is now wavering. I take personal credit. 🤣
Quetzalcoatlus · 46-50, M
[@422868,Burnley123] Just think about it. A champion of champions club tournament. The winner takes all the glory! I’ll def watch!!
Burnley123 · 36-40, M
Ed Woodward, the United CEO has just resigned. The collapse of a coup in real time. 🤣👏

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