I have met people with questionable ethic. That isn’t rare. But I am yet to meet a football fan who says they will stop supporting their team if so and so happens.
That is rare, seemingly to the point of non-existence.
While I am tempted to delve deeper into this duality, let us keep this discussion restricted to the game.
In the last few days, we have all witnessed claims from people, even hardcore club loyalists, that they’ll not be following their teams if they, in fact, decide to participate in the European Super League.
Because nothing is bigger than the sport, a concept lost on those in power because of the delusions money creates.
Questionable ethic, not rare.
Why such unanimous hatred towards the tournament, though? The answer lies in the fundamental value it is based on: Exclusion.
Basically, the European Super League has been started by the 12 most celebrated football clubs across the world, who get to be a part of the tournament just by virtue of popularity.
OFFICIAL: 12 teams have confirmed they will be part of the new European Super League:— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) April 18, 2021
🏴 Man City
🏴 Man Utd
🇪🇸 Atletico Madrid
🇪🇸 Real Madrid
🇮🇹 AC Milan
🇮🇹 Juventus pic.twitter.com/54RRW9fdnw
They don’t have to face competition at any level, and are given a free pass, no matter where they stand in the points table in the other leagues.
So, Leicester City, who are currently at the 3rd spot in the EPL; above Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Arsenal – 4 out of the 12 teams of the European Super League – don’t get to be a part of it.
If they want in, they will have to qualify through a mechanism that will be clarified later. 5 teams will make their way into the tournament with this said mechanism, while 3 others are slated to join the initial 12, taking the total number to 20.
This goes against the basic principles of football, which find their foundation in fairplay and equal opportunity.
As James Corden nicely puts it here:
We talked about the #SuperLeague on the show tonight. pic.twitter.com/6n40FlkNsA— James Corden (@JKCorden) April 20, 2021
This also kills the magic of the sport which has taken thousands of players from the streets and placed them in the biggest stadiums in the world, just on the basis of merit.
What are the kids on the streets supposed to do now, with this becoming the norm?
The European Super League will also affect the players’ performances. In a bid to have more football action, the club owners seem to have forgotten that athletes are not machines, even though they play like one at times.
⚽️ “Football has to stay united.”— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) April 19, 2021
❌ “I believe, personally, that this ESL idea will not go far.”
🙏 “We must fight to keep football simple, understandable, and based on merit!”
Arsene Wenger says a European Super League cannot be allowed to happen. pic.twitter.com/zJsgYI6KB6
The footballers will burnout at some point, with week-day and weekend leagues taking place simultaneously.
And the quality of the game will come down sooner or later.
“Either you’re in or you’re out. You cannot be half in or half out.”— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 20, 2021
FIFA president Gianni Infantino has voiced his disapproval of the European Super League and says the clubs involved “must live with the consequences of their choice”.
In the press release published on the official website of the European Super League, Florentino Pérez, the first Chairman says:
We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.
Manchester City fans have made their feelings on the European Super League clear with these defiant banners outside the Etihad… 👏👏@Citizen_baker pic.twitter.com/tCJj0X0Z8G— SPORTbible (@sportbible) April 20, 2021
Brighton & Hove Albion are totally opposed to plans for a breakaway European Super League as it would destroy the dreams of clubs at every level of the domestic game.#BHAFC 🔵⚪— Brighton & Hove Albion (@OfficialBHAFC) April 20, 2021
A good way to find out what football fans desire would have been to ask them, but we are way past that point, aren’t we?