By Luke Mich
A newly proposed continental soccer league was introduced publicly less than two weeks ago, on Sunday, April 18, 2021. The league would rival the current Champions League in Europe and would consist of some of the most historically and financially successful professional teams in the continent, including Manchester United from the United Kingdom, FC Barcelona from Spain and Juventus from Italy. Though the teams and executive board of this new league, called the Super League, expected universal acclaim from fans and players of the sport, the formal introduction of the proposed league garnered worldwide backlash, with claims that the league will ruin the world of soccer altogether, and that it was an injustice specifically to the fans of the game around the globe. I agree. The Super League was a clear-as-day obsession with greed and revenue from the chairman of the league, as well as from the management squads of the teams involved.
The Super League is not hard to criticize. For one, the teams didn’t have to fit any certain requirement or qualification to be included in the league. These teams only made it into the league because they were the most financially successful and most popular teams in their respective professional and national sports leagues they are currently in—not because of how they finished in the standings or their overall record. In contrast, the Champions League is made up of teams throughout Europe who finished in the top of their respective country’s league. Due to this difference, the Super League was unfair, comprised of the richest teams who had no worry of being kicked out of the league for a poor record and who qualified based off having a higher payroll than 99% of the professional teams in the continent.
Moreover, professional teams who were not as “big” or marketable as the historic franchises would suffer. These traditionally lower-ranking teams host games in smaller stadiums, charge lower ticket prices because of their smaller fan following, and pull in less revenue due to having nowhere near the same name recognition as the Real Madrids, Inter Milans, and Chelseas of their league. Not to mention that these lesser-known teams have suffered even more due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more restrictive budgets that hamper their ability to purchase young talent or current stars to compete within their own leagues, and with much lower revenue earned due to limited attendance for their recent season’s games because of social distancing. With the bigger teams in their respective leagues potentially leaving, these lower-level teams would get even less national and worldwide exposure, less revenue and less promotion due to the fact of no longer competing with these big-name teams.
The European Super League should not happen for all these reasons, as well as many more. It’s disrespectful to the players of lower-level teams, fans and to the sport of soccer itself. It is nothing more than a blatant cash-grab for the executive boards and billionaire owners of these teams. Luckily, there has been a tough crackdown since the league was introduced. Countries have threatened that Super League players would be ineligible to play for their country in the World Cup and the Olympics. The UEFA executive board threatened the removal of the three Champions League teams that were a part of this Super League.
Thankfully, many teams have quickly dropped out of the Super League, with 9 of the 12 teams withdrawing by April 21. However, while the Super League’s operations are currently suspended, the chairman has insisted that the Super League will return soon, and that the teams that withdrew are legally bound by contract to be a part of the league. For now, this league has been shut down. I hope that this unnecessary and repugnant concept will not return in the near future.