European Super League

Well, it’s the flavour of the month, this topic, so I thought it only fair that I give my various thoughts on it.

Firstly, I don’t think it’s real. I think it’s a calculated move by the bigger European clubs to try and garner more money from UEFA in the Champions League. I suspect UEFA will cave in, the Super League won’t happen, and UEFA will ‘punish’ those clubs via some other means, such is their petulant nature. I’m not condoning what the twelve clubs have done but let’s not pretend that it’s anything but a clever, calculated move at this point, just like when Messi suddenly starts getting ‘itchy feet’ every time his contract is running down, and then magically signs a new one for a bumper pay day. I don’t criticise that activity because it works, whether I like it or not. For what it’s worth, I am not for or against this project because I don’t have enough evidence to work with in order to form a reasonable opinion yet.

Secondly, I’m a bit fed up of the hypocrisy on show right now. At present, everybody is laying into the twelve clubs for doing what they’ve done – fine. I’ve no problem with the protests against the concept. However, if you’re vehemently against that concept, you must also be heavily against similar concepts – and that’s not happened. Where’s the backlash in England for Sky, for example? They put the price of watching games up £15 in a time of economic crisis, a situation that was so horrendous that it’s still not ended now, a year down the line. Where are the t-shirts and planes of protest for them? Let’s not try to pretend to be disgusted by the concept that money runs the game nowadays. It’s been that way for a long time now. That’s how the Premier League was founded, after all. Spanish top clubs dictate their own broadcasting rights on their own channels too – do you imagine they do that for free? Or for the ‘good of the fans’? Of course not. Unlike most people, I don’t have any issue with football clubs operating as businesses because that’s essentially what they are. If you think otherwise, you’re delusional; those days are very much in the past – unless you support a smaller/local club, of course. And if you do, do you really think that your club would make a different choice if the boot was on the other foot? Food for thought.

Thirdly, let’s not pretend that UEFA and FIFA didn’t deserve this kick in the balls because they absolutely, unequivocally did – and still do. The schemes and corruption they’ve got away with over the years are unreal, really. Truth be told, I doubt FIFA are all that upset about it; they just have to appear to be. UEFA are probably just fuming because they didn’t find a way to make it happen themselves. I mean, come on now – UEFA Europa League final being held in Azerbaijan; a country with no direct flights to the country both finalists were from? Just a coincidence, was it? Or how about the World Cup being held in Qatar, FIFA? It was just their ‘turn’, was it? The fact that UEFA responded to this purported Super League by naming the most god awful reformat of the Champions League (removing groups, but still making everybody play as if they’re in a group – except it’s one big league table), which quite clearly only serves to make them more money because of increased television coverage really does say it all here. There are no innocent parties in this exchange, folks – that I can promise you, whatever transpires. It’s the rich vs the rich, nothing more, nothing less.

Fourthly, can we stop saying that this would ‘ruin the game’? I’m sitting on the fence as to whether this Super League is a good idea or not, should it actually go ahead, because little irks me more than people that don’t know what they’re talking about (i.e. just regurgitating what the media are spewing out to garner controversy) giving opinions on something they don’t understand before it’s even began. Every good thing on the planet was once a ‘terrible idea’ at the beginning, bar none. If you’re going to criticise it, wait until you have something to criticise it for. Maybe the football is poor. Maybe the teams play too many games and it lessens the quality that way. Maybe the cost of subscribing to watch them is too much. Maybe they’re not open enough to new ‘applicants’. Those, with time, would be acceptable forms of disagreement, should they come to pass. Wittering on that it’s the worst thing ever, and that football has died because of it, is incredibly ignorant and short-sighted. Nobody – and I do mean nobody – knows if this will be good or bad because it hasn’t even happened yet. Nobody is going to know until it has happened, either.

Fifthly, please stop praising the German clubs as if they’ve done something special by ‘not being in it’. I tend to find myself agreeing with the way that the Germans do things more than anybody else but their rules stipulate that 51% of all their clubs are owned by the fans, so Bayern, Dortmund etc. not being in it really isn’t a decision that the club got to make; it was made by their fans, and there are no prizes for guessing what they wanted to happen!

Let me finish by saying this. Money runs the game now; that’s the way it is. It’s not going to make a single iota of difference to most of you whether the Super League goes ahead or not because it’s just another paradigm that has happened to drift into your existence. You’re not paying for it, and you’re not gaining from it, so instead of jumping on the bandwagon of how it’s terrible, why don’t you wait and see if it even happens? If it does, then try formulating a reasonable opinion as to why it’s good or bad, and perhaps this is a crazy notion but maybe they can adjust the format afterwards to make sure it negates whatever problems occur. Madness, right?

Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others”. Think about that before you decide what’s apparently the worst thing ever with no real grounds for believing so.

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