The Real Reason Why The European Super League is Forming
First, There Were 12…
It looks like moves to create the highly anticipated ‘European Super League’ are moving up a gear with the announcement that 12 of Europe’s biggest football clubs are preparing to break away from their current national leagues to join the new super league which will be independent of UEFA and national football associations such as the English Football Association (FA).
The 12 clubs are Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Man City and United, and Liverpool from England; Real and Athletico Madrid, and Barcelona based in Spain; Juventus, AC and Inter Milan from Italy.
With time, other clubs are likely to add flesh to the bones of this Super League. We’re looking at you, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain (PSG), for starters.
Yet, the breakaway is highly controversial with UEFA, the English FA, Premier League, Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), La Liga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) as well as Serie A, all united in trying to stop the move away, making it clear they will fight tooth-and-nail to stop this ‘highly cynical project’ going ahead.
And supporter groups are also up in arms about it, describing it as ‘disgraceful’ and that the clubs and their players should be left out in the cold if they go ahead with the move.
So why are these clubs going ahead with such an unpopular transition? The simple answer, of course, is money.
It’s a bit more complicated than that, however. Allow me to explain.
The Problem with Boring Leagues
The underlying issue is the dearth of healthy competition.
Let’s look at the top five leagues in Europe and how many clubs have won each nation’s league title between the years 2010–2020.
The English Premier League (EPL) has been won by five different clubs in that time, with Man City winning it four of those ten seasons. It’s an exciting competition that attracts increasingly large revenue streams as a result.
The Spanish La Liga had three different winners but Barcelona clinched six of those ten titles. This is a less exciting league as it’s only a two and a half horse race, at most, and Spain’s ‘Big Two’ hog La Liga’s revenue streams.
Yet, in Italy’s Serie A it is even worse; there were just two different Champions in that decade, and Juventus won the last nine Serie As.
Similarly in Germany’s Bundesliga there were just two champions, and Bayern Munich won the last eight of those titles
And in France’s Ligue 1 there were three title winners, but PSG won eight of those.
So, we see an unhealthy monopoly where title-winning pedigree in four of those leagues is possessed by just five clubs; Barca, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern and PSG, and once big clubs like AC Milan, Athletic Bilbao, Olympique Lyonnaise… I could go on… barely get a look in these days
This is a big problem.
It’s not just a problem for the clubs like Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan or Marseille whose glory days are increasingly far back in history. It’s a problem for the league giants too because the league they are in are less and less exciting to follow.
Who’s interested in following a league where fans don’t talk about who will win the league but when the top dog will win it?
So, the revenue streams for Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, and to a lesser extent La Liga are being outstripped by the PL meaning Bayern, PSG and Juventus rely on Champion’s League money more and more to make up for the shortfall.
But it’s not enough and they’re falling behind. All of Europe’s big names are falling behind, which have given football so many glorious memories in the 20th Century are now shells of their old selves.
European football, as a competitive spectacle, is withering on the vine whilst as the EPL marches on.
In a sense, the EPL, with its ability to attract the world’s best players and coaches, is more and more an international ‘Super League’, but one Juventus and co are locked out of because they are based on the wrong side of ‘La Manche’, as the French call the English Channel.
Big Fish Want a Big Pond
To use an analogy, the continental giants outside of England are big fish in small ponds, and those ponds are slowly drying up and the water is turning stagnant. They need to jump into a new fresh lake with lots of other big fish to swim with and draw back the anglers who want a lake stocked with plenty of big fish.
This is why, then, the Super League is not just attractive, it is imperative.
These clubs must upgrade… or die.
Unsurprisingly, English clubs also clearly can see that playing the likes of Bayern, Real and Juventus twice a season, as well as their English rivals, is nothing but a step up.
I mean, if you’re offering…?
In my opinion, the move up is inevitable. As inevitable as it was all those decades back when Queen Victoria sat on the throne and English clubs still played in regional leagues until the English Football League was formed.
That’s ‘progress’ for you; that’s the future.
You don’t like it? Then cancel your TV sports subscription and start following your local ‘Sunday League’ club instead!