After the Football Insurrection

This week, after the managements of 12 European clubs showed their true colors in a failed coup to take over football, people everywhere were enraged. Despite rumors leaking about a Super League for a while now, the late night announcement was both unexpected and shocking. Likewise, the 12 clubs seemed to be shocked by the fact that no one wanted the Super League. Everyone agrees that UEFA need wholesale changes due to corruption, inconsistency, and greed. But moving forward after this is not as simple as a ref blowing the whistle to kick off the next match. There are a lot of questions and uncertainties after the football insurrection.

The clubs forgot where their jobs come from


Most people think that UEFA is an evil overlord of corrupt and unfair implementation of Financial Fair Play (FFP.) Or perhaps the organization that disperses the checks for the Champions League and Europa League competitions. But those are only two of the responsibilities of Europe's football governing body. UEFA is also the democratic governing body for 55 national football associations, or an "association of associations." According to their website, their objectives include:

"To deal with all questions relating to European football, to promote football in a spirit of unity, solidarity, peace, understanding and fair play, without any discrimination on the part of politics, race, religion, gender or any other reason, to safeguard the values of European football, promote and protect ethical standards and good governance in European football, maintain relations with all stakeholders involved in European football, and support and safeguard its member associations for the overall well-being of the European game."

The Super League makes UEFA look spotless

They govern everything from grassroots football to organizing major tournaments and everything in between. The way the Super League clubs talked about them, they are a bank account to bail out the clubs, that they owe clubs more money for competing in their tournaments. You know, the tournaments that they finance, organize, and implement, including stadiums and referees, marketing and broadcasting, and everything in between? (As well as everything else that they do.)

The problem is that despite UEFA offering transparency to clubs, out of touch club managements don't bother to do their homework. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez complained that no one knew the salaries of UEFA executives, but those are actually public knowledge. Which led Calcio e Finanza to find that UEFA President Ceferin's salary grew by €450.000 during COVID. (Other executives saw salaries reduced by 20-30% during the last year due to hard economic times.)

Ceferin's job just got that much harder

More well-known to fans are the random implementation of FFP rules. For example, when Yonghong Li purchased Milan, they refused to offer a settlement agreement, and were harshly critical of his loan from a vulture fund (they were right to worry.) Milan ended up negotiating a one year ban from European competition to clear up the mess. Meanwhile, clubs like Manchester City, Barcelona, and PSG were allowed to spend without punishment, finding loopholes in UEFA's poorly written rules. Other clubs have been able to have punishments reduced or removed, while some clubs were severely punished. This inconsistency in governing, combined with the extensive amount of power and money involved create the impression of corruption that is difficult to argue.

While everyone was completely opposed to the Super League, there was a lot of acrimony aired about UEFA, as well. Certainly, Milan's Curva Sud raised a lot of perceived issues with UEFA, even if they were being very hypocritical about hypocrisy. Despite the fact that the Curva are a faction made up of many actual criminals who only speak out when it suits them, their statement demonstrates the mistrust and misconceptions fans have. Going forward, UEFA have a lot of work to do to increase their transparency and repair their image, which will be difficult to do if they continue to operate as they have been. To avoid insurrection part two from the clubs still clinging to their "blood pact," UEFA are likely going to need to make wholesale changes in their competitions as well. 

A blood pact for blood money

The Clubs

The 12 clubs, however, made UEFA look like a bastion of moral goodness. Despite claiming that they wanted to create better football (read: power,) these out of touch club CEOs were all about money (read: money.) Not only did they not seem to ever consider that no one wanted another midweek competition, no one wanted some type of self-proclaimed "better" football, let alone such an elitist, closed competition. The clubs were only doing this to make more money (read: money.) 

They claimed that the football infrastructure is falling apart, that their clubs were suffering because of COVID-19. This despite the fact that many of the clubs signed onto this project more than a year before the coronavirus infected even one human being. Not only are they far more corrupt than UEFA could ever be (read: power,) the reason their clubs are suffering so much is because they spent too much money (read: greed.) Ironically, that is what UEFA's FFP is for - to ensure clubs are following a healthy business model so that greedy, corrupt owners and CEOs like them don't force a club to go bankrupt. These clubs needed UEFA more than anyone else. Some people just ask for help, but these backstabbing criminals tried to ruin football (read: greed.) Yet they can't even look up an executive's salary in public records (read: stupid.)

Two of the biggest... well, masterminds of this scheme

Meanwhile, smaller clubs aren't begging for cash from UEFA or staging a football insurrection. They have had to be fiscally responsible because they have such limited funds.They respect the process and governance of UEFA, even if many of them likely also have ideas to change or improve the system. These 12 clubs weren't looking after the "wider football pyramid." They were looking to cover their own foolish business practices, and they did it before the crisis of the global pandemic, too (read: selfish.)

Fans, players, ex-players, other clubs... basically everyone spoke out against their precious Super League. UEFA threatened to ban them, FIFA, too, but they threatened legal action against those actions (read: entitled.) The clubs absolutely should have some sort of punishment for something like this, but there is no precedent. The impotent FIGC said that the Italian clubs will not be punished for something that didn't come to fruition. (I'm pretty sure the "C" in FIGC is for corruption.) 

Fans look at this and see passion, Clubs look at this and see money

The Fans

Most fans were completely opposed to this ridiculous scheme. Fans would have had to pay another subscription to stream or view another competition. The idea of more midweek games is absurd, so many fans have a hard time keeping up with the ones we already have, because they work. The Super League geniuses talked about playing games all over the world to increase their fanbase... really? Like players can fly to North America or Asia midweek and still play all of their other matches? Could these people be any more out of touch with their product or their fan base? Or even reality?

Yet the fans are powerless in a power struggle like this. Despite it being our money that they would be making (because we are all working midweek,) they didn't even consider that we didn't even want something like this, let alone having it crammed down our throats. Despite citing the "billions of fans worldwide," they never thought to ask even one of us for our input.

A new rift... will Maldini's job survive this one?


Fans of Milan face a special kind of problem. Maldini's comments ahead of yesterday's match ripped open another chasm within the management of the club. Not unlike the Rangnick debacle last year, which saw Gazidis fire Boban, Maldini was kept in the dark about this Super League nonsense. Because they knew he wouldn't approve of a greedy, soul-stealing, selfish plan like this. And they were right. Maldini apologized to fans, not just Milan fans, but all fans for this horrific nightmare of a scheme. Because it betrayed the principles of sport. So what, does Gazidis fire him now, too? Maldini is the main reason that Milan is successful right now. He already is reported to have blocked Gazidis from talking to the players about the Super League on Monday, asking him to leave them out of business matters. 

The worst part of it is that Milan's statement never said we are out of the Super League. Literally, fans were appeased by "We will continue to work hard to deliver a sustainable model for football." Perez also mentioned that Milan and Juventus are both still members of the insurrection squad. Being owned by a vulture fund, and with a soulless lawyer as our CEO, this makes perfect sense. But it also sets up another opportunity for Gazidis to push Maldini out, one way or the other. Also, did you realize Milan is still a member of the Super League project?

Maldini has always defended the principles of sport against all odds

Some rifts are easily smoothed over and eventually even forgotten. But this failed insurrection has long lasting consequences for all of the stakeholders in European football. The European Club Association (ECA) has changed significantly since Agnelli resigned and the 12 clubs also reportedly resigned from it. UEFA will have to scramble to make significant changes, but have a chasm to span between the selfish "Super" clubs and all of the other, more sporting clubs. Fans are more jaded and even less trusting of everyone in power. Milan face another battle between the forces of good and evil, even though the evil still has all of the money and power. The corruption and greed of 12 European clubs for both power and money has created a wound that may never heal. The beautiful game may never be the same after this week's football insurrection.

This post inspired by the music of The Fixx's "One Thing Leads to Another"

Our next match is
Serie A Week 33
Lazio vs. Milan
Monday, April 26 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)

After the Football Insurrection After the Football Insurrection Reviewed by Elaine on 2:33 AM Rating: 5
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