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Football: Can The Super League actually save Football?

The European Super League is fast becoming a reality, and it has divided football fans all over the world. But I’m here to explain why it could very well be the best thing to have happened to the sport in years.

Ten of Europe’s biggest clubs – along with Arsenal and Spurs – have come together to part ways with the UEFA Champions League and form their own breakaway format which they’ve titled the European Super League.

A generic statement was released by all twelve teams to discuss what the new Super League is all about:

“Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.

AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as Founding Clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.

The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.

The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid. In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.”

So, let’s look at some of the key points from that statement. The power will now lie in the hands of football clubs as opposed to corrupt organisations such as UEFA and FIFA. Why would fans be upset about this?

All the clubs involved wanted to remain in their respective domestic leagues, but it’s looking likely they’ll be evicted from all, and for what? Trying to make money? What’s so wrong with that? Football is a business at the end of the day. It’s not the job of big football clubs to save the pyramid system, that’s on the governing bodies, who have failed at this concept time and time again.

The new Champions League format already highlights that the elite clubs will be automatically entered into the competition, so basically, the only difference between that and the new Super League is the UEFA branding behind it. UEFA are mad because they’re seeing a cash cow drift off without them on board.

UEFA and FIFA are doing everything in their power to deny this Super League from happening, including stripping teams of past honours, banning clubs from upcoming video game releases, and even forbidding players from the breakaway clubs to play for their countries. It’s a shame UEFA and FIFA don’t come down this hard on racism. Once again proving their loyalty is with money, just like it’s always been.

Sky and BT Sports have also lambasted the idea of a Super League, claiming it to be based on nothing more than greed. This from an organisation that attempted to charge broke fans £14.95 to watch Premier League games during a pandemic. Hypocrisy at the highest level. Trust me, when the bidding begins for TV rights, they’ll be at the front of the queue. They’re hardly going to want to pay billions to promote Burnley Vs West Ham, are they?

Legends of the game have also taken to social media and other platforms to vent their hatred towards the idea, and they’re entitled to their opinion. But football is constantly changing. Why should this sport stay in the past when everyone else is moving forward? The NFL format works perfectly, and that’s something to take heart from the naysayers of the new proposed league.

Change is always scary, but we have to trust the process.

I also don’t get all this boycotting of clubs by fans. So, they’re basically fans of the respective leagues as opposed to their own clubs? So why get so upset when an Arsenal draws to a Fulham? Or a Chelsea lose to a West Brom? Or even a Man City lose to Leeds? It’s good for the league, isn’t it? Can’t have it all ways.

This nonsense that the biggest teams are leaving to avoid competition is utterly ridiculous. It’s a league consisting of the best talents on the planet. On a regular basis, we will be witnessing the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona taking on Chelsea and Liverpool. That, as a fan, should be exciting. I don’t get the unrest.

Some have said that fans won’t be able to make it to every game as most teams are from all over Europe, but there are such things as television sets these days. You don’t have to go to every game to be a supporter. The owners also want a more welcoming atmosphere at stadiums where parents can bring their kids and not worry about vile language and violence.

Once again, taking from the American way of doing things where it’s based more on casual fans and tourists taking an interest in the sport. I don’t see a problem with inviting more people into the sport we all claim to love.

The competition format for the new Super League is as follows:

20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.

Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.

An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

It sounds exciting. It’s a new chapter in football. It’s time to respect the history of football and enter a brave new era. I, for one, will be waiting with bated breath for the opening game on this brand new adventure, and I hope millions of fans will join their respective clubs on this fantastic journey.

My message to fans is to stop listening to the propaganda from the media, ex-players and governing bodies, and trust your clubs to make the best decisions for your teams.

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