Yesterday the European Super League got its official announcement. After months of rumors, it became a reality. Florentino Perez, the new chairman of this new tournament, announced that they want to start the new season from next season. And unsurprisingly, the negative responses from FIFA, UEFA and domestic organizations came. FIFA threatened to ban players from the world cup. UEFA threatened to file a lawsuit of 60 Billion Euros against the teams. Furthermore, the domestic league threatened to ban the teams of the Super League from the domestic leagues. Fans also got angry with the teams participating, saying that it will kill football.
First of all, let’s see how we got to this point, 1 day before UEFA wanted to announce the new format of the UCL. The idea of forming an elite league isn’t new, and once every few years the idea is discussed. The reality is that the elite clubs, and FC Barcelona is one of them, aren’t happy with how UEFA are managing the continental tournaments. They see UEFA as bunch of businessmen that are leading the organization the same way they did in the 90’s. They aren’t open for changes.
Take the UCL Quarter Finals for example. Why on earth 2 matches took place in the same time and not on different hours? That meant fans couldn’t watch both matches of the evening. And for the clubs that meant less money for TV rights, as there were less viewers for every match.
Moreover, the clubs are furious with UEFA ever since they formed the so called “Nations League”, which caused more international breaks in the season, in the expense of the clubs.
The money on the line
The elite clubs know that they are a lot more popular than the US Basketball and Baseball teams. But UEFA failed miserably in terms of profit, comparing to the MLB of the NBA. That’s why forming a new organization will be financially beneficial for the clubs.
According to the announcement last night, there will be 15 clubs that will be considered as “founders”. They will get around 425 Million Euros just for joining the competition. Right now the clubs get a lot less, as the winner of the UCL gets around 120 Million Euros. That means a lot of money is going to UEFA instead of the clubs that make the profit.
The elite clubs always wanted to have more control over the UCL and the earnings of it. But I guess the collective loss of around 1.5 Billion Euros last season due to Covid-19 was the final straw for the 12 elite clubs. Investors and JP Morgan will pay around 3.5 Billion Euros to the teams, and that could save them economically.
So far Bayern and PSG are not part of the new competition. It has to do something with their connections with Qatar, and the 2022 World Cup. But if we look at what happened in European Basketball, the big clubs eventually join the others. So I expect them to join the new tournament once it’s a reality.
The ESL clubs said they want to talk with UEFA and reach an agreement. So expect more news on that subject.
The fans are angry
All over the world we see that the football fans don’t like that move. They say that it will prevent the smaller clubs from participating in the big league. And that’s all true. However, if this new tournament will take place, most people would prefer to watch Liverpool vs Barcelona, and not Porto vs Dinamo Kyiv for example.
And it’s not like UEFA, FIFA and the domestic organizations always think about the fans. Let’s not forget how the EPL formed a new league and let foreign Billionaires buy the clubs. We can all remember how the Spanish Federation moved the Super Copa to Saudi Arabia in order to get more money. And of course FIFA moved the World Cup to Qatar.
So I don’t know what will be better, keeping the power in UEFA or the big clubs. But taking power out of FIFA and UEFA is always a good thing in my opinion.
Are the threats realistic?
Soon after the announcement of the Super League, we saw the threats: UEFA wants to file a lawsuit against the 12 clubs. On what ground? I don’t know.
FIFA threatened to ban the players of the 12 clubs from representing their countries. If we look back at FIBA that threatened to do that with the European Basketball players, in the end CAS prevented it from happening. But even if they can – Will FIFA risk playing in the World Cup without some of their biggest assets? I don’t think so.
The domestic organizations of England, Spain and Italy threatened to ban all teams from the domestic leagues. But again, I don’t see that happen. And even if it will happen, the main losers from this move would be those organizations. The sponsors will run from them, and they would not be able to charge so much for TV rights.
I think that the elite clubs know that they have the upper hand right now. Fans who are angry with the move will probably still sit and watch the matches. However, the last word still needs to be said in this subject. I think that the way the clubs announced this move was a well prepared gambit, but the game only started.
One thing is certain – The logo of the Super League is UGLY