One of the most important questions in the world of football at the moment is “What is the Super League and how is it going to affect the future of the sport we love?”
What is the Super League?
According to a report published by Der Spiegel 11 European clubs have drafted a document which would end the Champions League and replace it with a European Super League. 16 teams could form this new competition with 11 founding members immune from relegation.Rumours of a European Super League have surfaced before but to date this has always lead to concessions by UEFA to give clubs a greater share of the Champions League revenue to keep the big sides in the competition.
1998: The Super League was first proposed in 1998 but came to nothing after UEFA expanded the Champions League and abolished the Cup Winners’ Cup to appease clubs that were considering defecting to the proposed Super League.
2009: The Super league had a resurgence in 2009 when Real Madrid’s Florentino Pérez championed the idea and later that year Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger predicted a super league would become a reality within 10 years due to the financial pressures on elite teams. Under Perez’s plan, the continent’s best teams would remain part of their respective national systems but would also play each other at the conclusion of the regular league seasons.
2016: In 2016 representatives from Premier League clubs; Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal held a meeting with Stephen M. Ross’ representatives to discuss the possibility of a European Super League. In the same year UEFA also discussed the possibility of creating a closed league containing the 16 “best” teams in European football from the highest ranked national leagues. These 16 teams would have been divided into 2 groups, with 8 teams in each group. After 56 games in each group under the round-robin system, the teams that finished in places 1-4 would qualify for the quarter-finals. That plan was eventually rejected and UEFA, made changes to the structure of the UEFA Champions League to avoid the creation of a super league.
2018:In November 2018, Football Leaks claimed that there had been undercover talks about the creation of a new continental club competition, the European Super League, from 2021.
Format of the Competition
Der Spiegel ‘s report, based on documents obtained by Football Leaks, a football whistleblowing website, indicates that a new league, formed independently of UEFA, would be a 16-team competition with a group stage and a knockout round, starting in 2021.
The league would consist of 11 founding members and five guest teams, with the founders immune to relegation and guaranteed spots in the league for 20 years. The draft document alleges that the 11 founding members of the new league would be:
- Real Madrid and Barcelona
- Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal
- Juventus and AC Milan
- Bayern Munich
- Paris Saint-Germain
The same documents allege that the five guest teams would be:
- Atletico Madrid
- Borussia Dortmund
Furthermore, a secondary league could also be formed, with the five guest teams having to face off against the top teams from that second league annually in order to maintain their place in the competition.
Method in the Madne$$
So, what’s the rationale for the Super League? Well it seems clubs are getting bored of national leagues and the Champions League and what they want is to put on the greatest football show on Earth. Every game would be a top game. Imagine watching Manchester United vs Barcelona, followed by Real Madrid vs Juventus, followed by Liverpool vs Ac Milan. Sounds attractive right? But in simple terms the main purpose of creating the Super League is MORE REVENUE. The cost of broadcasting rights for European Super League games would be astronomical and the clubs involved would share the lion’s spoils.
Repercussion of the Super League?
If you take away the biggest teams from each domestic league, the majority of fans, particularly international ones, would all but abandon the domestic divisions. So too would sponsors, meaning the gap amongst elite European clubs and everyone else would grow even larger.
It’s wrong to think that removing the juggernauts from domestic leagues would lead to greater competitive balance in national leagues. There is always going to be financial disparity between clubs. With Everton and Tottenham left in the Premier League, it is highly likely both would emerge the dominant forces. Lyon would likely regain domestic power in France; Lazio and Napoli would seize the initiative in Italy; and Sevilla or Valencia would reign supreme in Spain. We still have no idea as to what will happen to the champions league after the inception of the Super League. Imagine, not seeing derbies such as Roma vs Lazio, Liverpool vs Everton or Arsenal vs Tottenham ever again. Difficult to even imagine right? Football has always been about great rivalries and without them it’s just another money-making business.
Furthermore, clubs like Bayern Munich, PSG and Barcelona like winning. They are used to it in their national leagues. All 11 of the ‘founding members’ would set out to win the league, but there can only be one winner and the clubs are risking their reputations by competing in this super competitive league.
“Everyone can be super and when everyone is super…no one will be” – Yes, I really did just quote Syndrome from the Incredibles….
UEFA’s Stand on the Super League
Despite all the anticipation it seems UEFA has finally put to bed talks of a breakaway European Super League by announcing new legislation on to protect domestic top tiers until at least 2024.
UEFA has agreed a new “memorandum of understanding” with the European Club Association,“Building on their close cooperation over the last 11 years, the memorandum outlines the strong willingness of UEFA and ECA to continue to work together with mutual trust and clarity of objectives to ensure the well-being and stability of European football.”UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, added, “I am delighted that we have reached such an agreement and that we – as Europe’s football governing body – and European clubs will continue to work closely together to further promote, develop and shape the future of football across the continent.” The ECA chairman and president of Juventus, Andrea Agnelli, described the new memorandum as “an important moment in the history of European football.” So, I think those against a super league can breathe a sigh of relief for now.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino also spoke out directly against the Super League threatening that football’s biggest names would be banned from the World Cup if they played in a breakaway European Super League.
An Elite League Alternative
Instead of the Super League, I envision a competition where top clubs compete in an elite league alongside their national leagues. This way there would be high profile fixtures without compromising the quality of the national leagues. The competition would consist of the top two teams from the English Premier league , La liga , League 1 , Bundesliga and the Seria A and a playoff for the last 4 places between the top two sides from the (F.) Primeira Liga ,Super League Greece, Dutch Eredivisie, and the top team from the Allsvenskan, Serbian SuperLiga and Scottish football league. This league would run concurrently above the Champions League, similarly to how the Champions League and Europa League work at the moment. At the end of the league there could be a three-way matchup between the winner of the Elite League, (yes I named it) the Champions league and the Europa League therefore expanding the Champions Cup, like this:
What do you think about the Super League? Let me know in the comment section below.
(They say that a picture says a thousand words so I probably could have just put these pictures up instead…)