The recurring talk in the shadows of the European Super League has haunted football for years.
Following a relatively unified stance against Project Big Picture, reports of a FIFA-backed European Super League are stronger than ever before. This was the ultimate goal of Liverpool and Manchester United’s predatory “rescue” plan for the lower leagues, and now, an announcement could be as imminent as the end of the month, according to Sky.
Liverpool and Manchester United have their spots locked in, while the rest of the Big Six will be “contenders” for three other English spots as of now, leaving one team, in all likelihood Tottenham or possibly Arsenal, in the dust. Other candidates for entry are Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid.
This centralization of football has been brought about by owners wanting to copy the American franchise system, and establish an elite group that faces no danger of outside threats. The clear goal of this league is to bring all of football’s money to one place, keep it in this old boy’s club only, and avoid another Leicester City scenario. These changes come at the expense of the lower leagues, and will be the biggest shift in European football’s history.
The plan could come into place as early as 2022, although without the support of UEFA and the willingness to end the Champions League, it could take until 2024. The plan claims that teams will remain in their domestic leagues, although I find that assertion highly questionable. If there ever is a departure of the top clubs from domestic leagues around the world, that is the end of lower league football. Those at the top are knowingly and willingly attempting to kill the game for smaller sides, take their money, and give fans a set choice of just a few teams to support. They know their respective leagues and FA’s need the big clubs, and will use that leverage to wield unlimited power over the game.
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Manchester City are now faced with a difficult choice. It was only begrudgingly that City were allowed into the old money table in the first place (because including them is now in the financial interest of the elite), and standing vehemently against this plan goes against their self-interest. If every other club is on board, City alone rejecting the offer is not enough to stop it. This will place the club in a tier below the rest, but being complicit in the destruction of football as we know it is morally wrong and something that I would personally find difficult to process.
City are not totally to blame if they eventually join a league like this. It is inevitable, as there has been smoke for the last five years, which is typically followed by fire. If they miss out on a moral principle, they may be doing the right thing, but will take their name right back out of the European elite they worked so hard to join. Greed is the root evil of both Project Big Picture and this Super League, and although City alone can do little to stop it, perhaps a club of their stature taking an early stand could inspire enough others to do the same. The talks of this centralization of power will never cease, but maybe, just maybe, we can firmly place it back where it belongs: a fringe idea that is too dangerous to ever be truly implemented into the world’s game.