Why the Super League is a Bad Idea

When the news broke that 12 clubs were breaking away from the European Club Association (ECA) and forming their own, self-titled "Super League," my heart broke to see that Milan was one of the clubs. While I like that Milan have become a little more progressive since Berlusconi let go of the club with his dirty hands, this is not progress. This is elitism, only not necessarily from the actual elite. The Super League is a self-promoting scheme for the rich clubs to get even richer without any accountability whatsoever. Worse still, by stepping away from established organizations, they are dooming so many of the "Cinderella teams" to football and financial insecurity. There are so many reasons why the Super League is a bad idea.

The original name was "The Money League," but that wasn't entitled enough

First of all, who decided that these 12 clubs are "the best?" Many of the clubs have been underperforming in their respective leagues or in European competition for years, including Milan. Especially Milan, actually. Was this decision made based on the clubs' quality? Or based on their willingness to sell out? If it is based on history, that won't matter anymore, because UEFA trophies mean nothing when you are no longer a part of UEFA. (Rips off the seven Champions League trophy patch from my jerseys while crying.)

The official statement released by Milan says that those involved have been having "extensive dialogue" with football entities about the "future format of European competitions." They claim their objective is "improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions." But they don't say how they will do that. Instead, they are isolating 12 clubs they deem as worthy/willing to sell out, offering them loads of cash for their "solidarity," but not offering where this money will come from. Money does not equal quality football, as we have seen with both Inter and Juventus this year. Or really pretty much every year in Europe.

Juventus have lost the most CL finals. No wonder they want a new league.

As for the money piece, they are claiming that these 12 "best" (read: sell out) clubs will receive €3.5 billion just for signing on, "solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic."  If these 12 teams have €3.5 billion laying around, why don't they just distribute the cash? If they are worried about the impact of the pandemic, why do they think that forming this league will suddenly just give them €3.5 billion?*

Clearly, they are unhappy with UEFA. The new Champions League format is ridiculous, and puts the players at higher risk so UEFA can collect more cash. Some of which would be passed along to all of the clubs involved, not just the 12. I get that this is not right and needs to change. Players should not play even more games to line executives' wallets. 

The magic of the Champions League... more than 12 teams can win, even on 10 men

But as it stands, we get to watch amazing matches like Juventus vs. Porto, where a team whose star player gets paid more than the entire wage bill of a club deemed not "the best," while knocking Agnelli's money sucking disaster of a team out of the Champions League, despite being on 10 men. Juventus losing just like every other year, actually, which is probably his motivation for helping to found the Super League. That is what football is all about, though. Anything can happen in 90 minutes. It's not about money, it's about sport. About passion. About the beautiful game.

As to another motive for this mutiny, UEFA have fumbled FFP harder than the worst own goal you've ever seen. With the pandemic on top of it all, at least they are finally sitting down to look at a new form of accountability that is not based on the income/expense rule. But that is not enough for the 12 self-proclaimed "best" teams. They apparently want zero accountability and all of the cash. Which means increased corruption, something that football certainly does not need. 

Don't throw away epic moments like this due to greed for power and money

If FIFA and UEFA are more corrupt than a gol di Muntari, imagine how corrupt 12 clubs with some of the wealthiest owners in the world will be? If anyone needs accountability, it's these guys. The new Super League site claims that the "solidarity" (read: sell out) payments will "follow a new model with full transparency and regular reporting." Do they mean like how these guys kept denying the plans for a Super League, but then right before a big UEFA meeting, announced this train wreck of a plan? 

They are counting on the collective importance of these clubs to UEFA, but who says their gamble will work? UEFA has hundreds of clubs, many of them committed to youth and good football. Maybe removing these rich, self-righteous, snobby clubs will actually improve the football? Maybe all of us "billions" of fans worldwide will step away from these entitled mercenary clubs and support clubs who don't sell their players out for cash? Did these 12 clubs ever think about that?

The youngest player to reach 20 CL goals would not be allowed in the Super League

Many of the clubs involved are owned by foreign investors. People who are rich, don't like to be told what to do, and have little to no ties to the cities or nations their clubs are located in. Which means that this Super League is not a positive move for football, the players, the fans, or even the clubs themselves. These owners are not only far removed from their clubs and fans, they are removed from reality. Football is based on passion, not making rich foreigners even richer at the expense of passion. 

In the statements from FIFA and UEFA denouncing this league, they are threatening to ban the clubs from all of their competitions, plus possibly domestic leagues as well, which would mean these 12 "best" teams, attempting to increase "quality and intensity" of football would only be playing once a week, and they would be playing the same 12-20 teams over and over again forever. Worse still, UEFA and FIFA are threatening to ban all of the players of these greedy clubs from all of their competitions, including representing their national teams. I know that not all of the players signed on to this fiasco.

Did Gazidis threaten to fire him, too? He knows what the CL is all about.

This is not about improving anything. UEFA are working to improve, but they didn't walk away from the conversations like spoiled children. In fact, they are due to officially announce Boban as Chief Football Officer at UEFA this week, which gives the organization an immediate new level of credibility and authenticity. But Agnelli quit his position as President of the ECA and pushed this through like a spoiled child, risking the clubs and their players' jobs and income as if they were playthings.

Ironically, it was noted that Juventus' statement on the Super League contained an additional ominous statement, that "at the moment the Company cannot assure that the project will be eventually successfully launched or predict the exact timing of the project. Accordingly, the Company does not have all the necessary elements to assess in detail the impact of the Super League on its financial and economic conditions and performance." At least they were honest-ish. But how can they claim transparency if they are treating the "economic conditions and performance" of the teams involved like a rash two-footed tackle?

Who wants to miss out on seeing Inter fail in the Europa League? Not me.

One thing is for sure, this explains Gazidis' reckless spending. No wonder he wasn't worried about FFP, or even qualifying for the Champions League. Who needs to meet UEFA's FFP guidelines or finish top four when you label yourself "the best" and sell out a storied franchise, its players, other employees, and fans for the promise of money? Money which cannot even be guaranteed? No wonder Juventus hired Pirlo this year and aren't sweating a top four finish, either. Or that Inter didn't care about getting knocked out of the Champions League. They are all gambling with their clubs' futures, starry eyed about telling themselves that they are "the best." 

The most disingenuous part of all of this are the statements from Florentino Perez of Real Madrid and Agnelli, who acknowledge that these 12 clubs represent "billions of fans" worldwide, and 99 European trophies. Trophies that are immediately obsolete if you step away from UEFA. Billions of fans that are disgusted by this money whore move, many of whom will no longer support these 12 clubs. That is if the clubs are even allowed to play football anywhere ever again. None of this is about the fans, so please don't drag us into this. And by the way, we'd like to keep all of our European trophies, of which Agnelli's club only has two. So stop appropriating Milan's history.

If after every Istanbul, there is an Athens, what if there are no longer either one?

This is not a move for the fans, it is 100% about money. They are claiming that this is meant to help football, or to help "the wider football pyramid," but by their own statement, the money is only going to the 12 clubs. The clubs who sold their souls in "solidarity" and are risking the clubs and players being banned from UEFA, FIFA, and even domestic league competition. For money. This is a scheme for the rich to get richer, to remove financial accountability, and for those who think they are elite to promote their own agendas while the football takes a back seat. It's absolutely disgusting.

*After this writing, it was revealed that US hedge fund JP Morgan will be supplying the initial €3.5 billion to the Super League clubs

This post inspired by the music of New Order's "Power, Corruption, and Lies" album

Our next match is (if we are still allowed to play in the league)
Serie A Week 32
Milan vs. Sassuolo
Wednesday, April 21 • 18:30 CEST (12:30pm EDT)

Why the Super League is a Bad Idea Why the Super League is a Bad Idea Reviewed by Elaine on 12:29 AM Rating: 5
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