Our writers come from several different nations... the UK, Spain, the US, and yet you’ll see some common threads here as they react in brief to the announcement of the European Super League.
Maybe I’m cynical, but this announcement strikes me as a negotiating ploy to put pressure on UEFA and the big European leagues, more than anything else. A lot is “envisaged”—the 12 teams will be joined by three other permanent ones, there will be some mechanism for five others to join on a rotating basis in some way. But you either have to be in the current European system, or you can be out. If you’re in, then you participate in UEFA competitions, national leagues and the like; if you’re out, you have to break away from the entire thing. You can’t just decide you can make more money by creating a new European competition just for you, but somehow stay in for the rest of it. If La Liga, Serie A and the EPL say “you can be part of this or you can be part of our league, but you can’t do both” (which at least appears to be their initial reaction) then it’s hard to see where this goes.
I will say the Not-So-Super League has managed to come up with a managing trio that makes UEFA and FIFA seem decently-managed. Florentino Perez, Joel Glazer and Andrea Agnelli—what could go wrong?
I think the European Super League is a disgrace and every club involved should be ashamed of themselves. It’s clear that they have no regard for their loyal fans and would rather a closed competition based on revenue rather than meritocracy. If this goes ahead, the damage it would do to football would be disasterous, and would alienate people who have been loyal to their clubs for decades. Football without fans is nothing and rich clubs masquerading as “super clubs,” despite some of them accomplishing nothing on the pitch in years, represents everything wrong with the game.
From a Villarreal perspective, the idea of La Liga with no European spots to contend for is not a desirable one. The European runs over the years have been some of the highlights in Villarreal’s history - the run to the champions league semi final in 2006 and the Europa League journey’s over the years have produced magical moments as underdogs which would not be possible in the new format. The fight for European qualification each season would no longer exist, and there would be no incentive for teams such as Villarreal to dream of their merits being rewarded with an earned place amongst Europe’s elite.
If I’m honest, I’m not happy about the announcement of the Superleague. Something that I’ve always liked about football is that possibility of small teams, teams from towns, achieving some successes that are way beyond what they would get if we had to go via a route of how much money are they moving. For me, the Superleague is the end of the tale of such clubs, with a new elitist league based on the greed of a few. Yeah, UEFA and FIFA are not above corruption and greed, but this is not a way to stop this. It’s a way to make clear there’s a second level in Europe for the rest of the clubs with only 20 being considered the most important, and I’m happy seeing that Villarreal won’t be part of it. I don’t plan to follow the league or any other team, because for me football is owned by people collectively, not by a few rich clubs, and this includes even if one day Villarreal would end entering the Superleague.
Ever the traditionalist, I think it is a shocking idea. Community football is the key to the game we love. We already have the Champions and Europa league and that’s enough. For me this is only about money and greed. But no relegation, no challenge cant see the appeal. I hope these owners reconsider this but I doubt it. That being said I can’t see it happening but it will lead to revamping the UEFA leagues which is not a bad thing!
In a vacuum, the idea of individual clubs binding together to take on UEFA is a great idea. It needed to happen. The problem is that it has happened in such a way that completely disregards the needs of all but the smallest handful of football clubs in the world. I see no good guys in this fight. FIFA openly supports a African Super League but they oppose this one. UEFA endures all manner of corruption to line their own pockets. La Liga is against the Super League but will host Super Cup games in Saudia Arabia and wants La Liga games in the United States. There’s just no consistency from anyone involved, and the ones caught in the crossfire will be supporters and smaller clubs, and that’s a shame.
The Super League idea as it currently exists is terrible for most football clubs, but if it is to be put down we must also put it down in a way that keeps UEFA from gaining unilateral control over its member clubs. We don’t avoid ruin by embracing tyranny.
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