The European Super League: Is it worth it?
German newspaper Der Spiegel last year leaked secret documents from a coalition of European clubs revealing their plans to create a European Super League (ESL). The leaked document came in the form of an email from Bayern Munich’s chief legal expert Michael Gerlinger.
An ESL in one form or another has been discussed since 1990, only quietened by the financial success of the Champions League. But would an ESL be good for football?
What’s the need for an ESL?
Ask the average football fan and there is no need for an ESL at all. We already have the Champions League and Europe’s super clubs already boast eye-watering revenues.
However the owners of Europe’s ‘super’ clubs all fall foul of the most unbecoming of the seven deadly sins – greed. Manchester City and Huddersfield Town at the culmination of the Premier League season will both receive the same share of TV revenues.
Why, the Manchester City owners may ask, should a team as glorious as ours receive the same TV money as lowly Huddersfield Town? The formation of the ESL would eradicate this equality and give clubs like City the share of the spoils that they ‘deserve’.
Fans don’t matter
Not in the traditional sense anyway. Let us go back to the above example, Huddersfield Town average crowds of around 24,000 in the Premier League (a sell-out) whereas City average around 45,000 (not a sell-out.)
Manchester City had won 2 English league titles prior to their cash injection, and Huddersfield Town have won 3 league titles without any such luxury. None of that matters though, ‘super’ clubs do not care for diehard fans, history or any other trivial matters.
They care about fans in Asia, North America and Africa, and unfortunately for Huddersfield Town their rag-tag bunch of hard-working players don’t have the allure of City’s billionaires in the far-flung reaches of the world.
An ESL would allow clubs like City to reach the ‘fans’ that they care much more about. The ‘fans’ that will pay for TV subscriptions, buy merchandise and fill the club’s coffers.
Fairness doesn’t matter
Financial Fair Play (FFP), perhaps one of the biggest lies told in the modern day was a tool put in place by European FA’s to combat ‘financial doping’. The type of thing that transformed Manchester City from a team that played goalkeeper David James up front to a team that won the Premier League with 100 points last season.
In an ESL there would be no pesky regulatory bodies limiting the spending powers of Europe’s elite. They would be a law unto themselves, free to purchase whomever they so wished in order to boost their overseas profile.
What would be the benefits of an ESL?
There would be more excitement for football fans obviously. We would be treated to the latter stages of the Champions League every single weekend – the games that only gain viewing figures of 200,000 in the UK.
Also there would be a dilution of international football. Players involved in the ESL would no longer be able to represent their countries so we could do away with boring tournaments like the World Cup – 22.5 million people in the UK watched the World Cup Final.
Finally the ESL would represent meritocracy, only the most deserving teams would be able to compete like Manchester City – who have won fewer English league titles than 7 other teams (2 of which play outside the Premier League.)
Bring on the ESL, it will be great…