The Rise and Fall of the European Super League

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Justin Elkin, Online Staff Writer

Initially proposed in 1998, the European Super League has not been a new concept and has been re-established recently in April given the debt the COVID-19 pandemic put certain teams in, with hopes of producing more money. This league, however, brought controversy and rage to many die-hard soccer fans who would prefer sticking to the traditional UEFA Champions League and avoid this money-seeking league that would undermine the entirety of passion and competition for soccer. To these indignant fans’ luck, the ambitious Super League came to a halt after six of the 12 teams opted out. But what exactly is the Super League and how did it come to an end?

The Super League was to consist of 12 teams who are considered the founders: Real Madrid CF, Manchester United F.C., Liverpool F.C., Juventus F.C., FC Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan, A.C. Milan, Manchester City F.C., Chelsea F.C., Tottenham Hotspur F.C., and Arsenal F.C. If fully played out, three more clubs would have been added: Paris St.Germain and F.C. Porto–– who both distanced themselves from this league–– Bayern Munich, which was desired for being a powerful team but also declined the offer. Regardless of the outcome, if the Super League ever happened, there would be 15 teams as the league’s foundation, meaning they are given an automatic spot in the competition, with a rotation of 5 more teams, who would be chosen by achievements in the previous season. The format of this league is quite different from the Champions League and would start in August, not in the fall, where the 20 teams split into two groups of 10 that play each other. Each team would play 18 games and then the top three teams in each league would qualify for the final stages, while the fourth and fifth place teams would face each other to decide the remaining quarter-final spots. After the 18 games are played between the two separate groups of 10, the final competition would look the same as the Champions League, which has two-legged matches in the quarter and semi-finals, followed by one final match. 

Controversy about the league has been more prominent than ever, as fans view this league as money-grabbing and ruining the game of soccer. As freshman Gyan Gautum put it, “A disgraceful attempt to end the game as we know it to the benefits of money.” Many other fans agree with Gautum and, in fact, a poll by YouGov revealed that 79 percent of English soccer fans are not in favor of the Super League, and 89 percent of fans believe it is motivated by money. In addition to a myriad of European soccer fans’ disapproval, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino have both condemned the Super League and even to the point where the players would be banned from participating in World Cups and other international competitions. Another prominent reason behind the league’s animosity is that it favors Europe’s most elite clubs and therefore obscures the vast majority of the other clubs that fans support. An official statement about the Super League encapsulates its true motives: “We are proposing a new European competition because the existing system does not work. Our proposal is aimed at allowing the sport to evolve while generating resources and stability for the full football pyramid, including helping to overcome the financial difficulties experienced by the entire football community as a result of the pandemic. It would also provide materially enhanced solidarity payments to all football stakeholders.” These motives constitute the outrage from fans, who do not want to see their favorite teams chase the money, but rather pursue the competition. Fans do not want to see only the best teams compete with each other, as unexpected underdog stories are both inspiring and intriguing. 

To the fans luck, the Super League started to collapse in the afternoon of April 20 after Manchester City became the first club to officially drop out of the league, starting a domino effect with the eventual following of all six Premier League Clubs, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Tottenham. That being said, the Super League suspended their plans as a League with even more fans, players, and managers protesting against them. Shortly after, Inter Milan and AC Milan also dropped out. With the loss of these powerful teams in the upbringing of the Super League, it is unlikely that the Super League will be happening anytime soon. The Super League, to many fans, was a failed attempt to produce money and to deflate the game of soccer. 

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