A handful or so of elite European clubs shocked the footballing world when they announced the formation of a breakaway European Super League that will replace the existing UEFA Champions League. However, the tournament ensures guaranteed spots to 15 of its 20 participants.
Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez is the one spearheading this project and he appeared on a Spanish TV channel giving an interview about the newly formed European Super League. The interview was not the most convincing one and only highlighted the fact that the participant clubs are trying to make up for their financial losses during the global pandemic.
Six clubs from the Premier League, namely Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are some of the founding members of the cash-rich league. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are the ones joining the carnival from the Primera Division. Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan are also amongst the inaugural members. However, there are reports emerging that Chelsea want to withdraw from ESL amid fan protests.
It will not be wrong to say that the founding members of the European Super League have got their basics all wrong. It might be the money that is driving these clubs and keeping them running, however, what will they do with all the money on earth if they end up turning the fans away from their beloved game. There have been tough financial phases in the past and several football clubs including those with severely limited means have made it out of it and even beyond. It is hard to understand the greed of these elite clubs from Europe who have their basics laid out and just need to adjust and adapt for a certain amount of time. UEFA’s revenue distribution formula could be discussed and renegotiated, but a monopolistic league like the European Super League will create more problems than the ones it was created to solve.
The Super League comprises of 15 permanent teams and five spots which will be contested for by teams each season. This in itself has a major flaw as undeserving and poorly performing teams will not be relegated and will also be ensured an enormous amount of money to spend on for the next season. Relegation and promotion are standard across all football leagues in the world. It is a disaster in the waiting if the Super League sees the light of day and an autocratic structure like this is adopted and implemented. The fans are the most important part of the game and a handful or so of European clubs cannot dictate terms of the game that is loved by millions across the globe.
The ESL’s revenue distribution system ensures at least 5 times the amount of money the winner of the UEFA Champions League would have got. It is a massive amount of money that will put these clubs way out of the reach of the smaller teams domestically. It essentially increases the gap between the richest of the clubs and the other clubs from the league. The European Super League will not only be a monopolistic competition in itself, but it will also reduce the competitiveness of domestic leagues likes Premier League, La Liga and Serie A with the income gap increasing. A majority of the 12 founding members already go all guns blazing in the transfer market, imagine them having an additional €300 million each season to spend on players, coaches, facilities and much more. The financial gap would keep widening and it would be impossible to see special stories like Leicester City winning the Premier League and Sevilla winning the Europa League.