In recent weeks the exhausting debate about the idea of a European Super League project has reared its ugly head again. Although it wasn’t an official endorsement, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that FIFA and UEFA prevented clubs from joining the European Super League, which was ruled against EU Law on December 21. These federations were fined because of this.
The European Super League project, though, is not something the fans want. Football isn’t just about money, and the decisions being made are by people who haven’t played the game. Elite sport thrives on competition, and if we want club competitions that reflect the fan bases of clubs and engage supporters, then there is no room for such a competition. While some clubs are struggling financially, the solution is not to take the game away from the independent domestic regulators and discourage domestic competition and domestic leagues, especially in Europe which houses much of the best global talent.
The premier league has become a sort of ‘super league’ in itself. Nevertheless, the European Super League is anti-football and anti-society. Some clubs in Spain, such as Barcelona and Real Madrid, realise that they are not a part of this, and it makes sense that they are pushing this European Super League. In Germany, football has had a positive social impact since its inception, and fans are a key part of the culture there, as well as a distaste for structural inequality. Therefore, for political reasons, it would not be popular there.
Several large premier league clubs have also come out against the Super League, each publishing statements reiterating their commitment to UEFA competitions.
With the introduction of the Saudi Pro League, the introduction of the ‘club world club’, as well as a new Champions League format, football is already in a period of transition with a direction of travel that is less about domestic leagues, and more about money. FIFA president Gianni Infantino, a controversial figure in the game, also recently announced a new club World Cup, a so-called ’Swiss model’ with 36 clubs which will start in 2024-2025.
The Premier League is an internationally renowned competition and is an important part of football culture in the UK but is also watched globally. This competition cannot be compromised. Player welfare also must be considered, and fans can be resistant to change, so this European Super League will prove a step too far for European football.
In 2021, when the idea of the European Super League was floated, the fan reaction against it was incredibly strong. This proves that, as a business, football is unique in the power that consumers have when they come together. Long may this continue.
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