The plan of several European top clubs to set up a ‘Super League’ is being rejected by the associations. Players competing in such closed elite competition should not be allowed to participate in the World Cup. The European Union is also joining the resistance.
“There is no room to disrupt the universal and diverse nature of European football. The European way of life is incompatible with a game of football reserved for the rich and the powerful. ” Vice-President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas has the floor.
Opposition to the so-called ‘Super League’ is swelling to the highest echelons of politics, but what is it exactly?
Closed elite competition
For a few years now, there have been voices among top European clubs to start a new competition: only accessible to teams like FC Barcelona or Manchester United, without a relegation or promotion system. Such a system would be the final blow to the already ruined democratic character of the sport. The main motive? It would allow big clubs to accumulate even more wealth.
The English newspaper The Times was able to view a proposal from the clubs interested in such a ‘Super League’. Under the proposal, founding members would be offered 350 million euros to join. They could earn up to 240 million euros annually. According to The Times, the competition would consist of 15 permanent members. Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan are said to be the driving forces behind the dissident league.
The powerful governing bodies of the sport want to nip the creation of such a ‘Super League’ in the bud. On Thursday, FIFA World Football Association – along with continental federations including UEFA – distributed an open letter emphasizing that “such a competition would not be recognized” by the unions. In addition, clubs and players involved in such a competition should not be allowed to participate in tournaments organized by FIFA or the respective federations. That means no World Cup, and no European Championship. UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin has even discussed the problem with Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, according to news website Politico.
Critics point out that without the basics of open leagues, relegation, and promotion, football inevitably gets very boring. Smaller teams therefore also lose all perspective to climb. Moreover, such a ‘Super League’ would undermine the current Champions League, which is an important source of income for the top clubs from the smaller leagues. There would be a two-speed football, with the slower version quickly falling hopelessly behind.