DEBATE: European Super League: Dead, Or To Be Revived?
Looking back, and looking forward, is it a good idea, or something that must never exist?
Yesterday on the site, subscriber Mortiman noted:
"Martyn Ziegler writing in The Times said that the Super League is dead. Juventus in disarray after their entire board resign in the midst of a [financial] investigation, leaving only Barca and Real left of the teams initially wanting the ESL. That combined with FSG and the Glazers looking to sell means that most clubs are out. FSG probably sees the writing on the wall."
And Barca are a basket-case of a club, financially - living on borrowed money, and maybe borrowed time – are not the best advert for sustainably run clubs (but might argue that they need to overspend to compete in Europe, albeit they keep dropping out at the group stages).
Are Juventus and Barcelona proving that there needs to be a new financial model to combat the financial dopers, or are they simply proving how badly run they’ve been, and that the ESL would be a way to clear stupidly-accrued debts?
However, others have noted the ongoing court case to bring legitimacy to the ESL, and that American (and other) consortiums buying major European clubs are likely to support it. (And that could include Liverpool, if sold.)
I had mixed feelings about the ESL at the time – lots to dislike and leave a bad taste, but perhaps a way (if done correctly) to help the biggest clubs compete with the petro-doped clubs in a better version of the Champions League, in a competition not run by UEFA (and with domestic football unaffected).
Football has to be a mix between traditions and innovation, and that’s never an easy balance to strike.
The ESL addressed some of the fundamental issues of financial shortfalls and the way that honestly-run clubs could not compete with sportswashers (who, incidentally, either never signed up to the ESL or were the very first to pull out, as they had all the money in the world). But it certainly felt wrong as a 'closed shop'.
Yet revised plans are still in place (albeit this was prior to the Juventus scandal), and if a major broadcaster backs it, it might yet happen at some point in the next few years.
As noted in October on ESPN:
The Super League project is "very much alive" according to Bernd Reichart, the new CEO of A22 Sports Management, the company promoting the revamped plan.
Reichart said the revamped Super League project will be more inclusive with "sporting merit applied," which was one of the main criticisms of the initial plan.
"The concept of a fixed [guaranteed] placement is not something that we are currently considering," he added. "Sporting merit will be applied to all members of that Super League."
Reichart confirmed that the Super League would not be played at the weekends and hence not affect the domestic competitions.
"The Super League has never been intended to harm the domestic leagues, or the calendar, but we are talking about European competition during the week, yes," he said.
Despite the Premier League clubs' opposition, Reichart said the Super League "will extend its hands to all members of European football."
But 18 months on from the original furore, what do you think? We've got many of the same subscribers from April 2021, but having moved to Substack, picked up some new ones along the way. So, have people changed their minds, and what do new subscribers think?
And what would it mean to have an ESL – if it went ahead – that was essentially all the major European clubs except those from England, as a kind of competition to the Premier League? What would be left of the old Champions League, and who would be in it, apart from English clubs? Is the ESL an immoral money/power grab, or a better alternative to UEFA? If Liverpool FC is indeed sold, will the new owners want to be part of it?
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