The European Super League has sent the world of football into disarray in a matter of hours, with outrage descending across pundits and fans alike.
It was announced on Sunday that 12 of Europe’s top clubs – Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter – would be joining together to form the breakaway competition.
This competition would have 20 teams – 15 of these permanent members who can’t be relegated – with matches played in midweek.
There has been almost unanimous anger across the globe, with the Super League’s founders accused not only of greed but of ruining football. Below are five things that will be ruined by the breakway league.
Champions League will be decimated
The first and perhaps most obvious victim of the Super League would be the UEFA Champions League.
Currently the continent’s premier competition, the Champions League is the pinnacle of club football showcasing the best 32 teams from Europe.
The Super League would attract massive sponsorship and TV deals, automatically making the Champions League less desirable and less financially lucrative.
Among the 12 clubs to have signed up are seven of the nine most successful clubs in the history of the European Cup, including the top three. With the Super League in place, the Champions League would lose all of these clubs, and their history along with them.
The years of history in the competition would be tarnished – Liverpool’s Istanbul miracle, Real’s three-peat, Barca, Inter and United winning trebles. All of these clubs seemingly have bigger plans and would turn their back on the competition that gave them and their fans these memories.
Super League will drive smaller clubs out of business
The whole foundation upon which the Super League is built is money. Big clubs have lost funds due to the pandemic and aren’t willing to earn it back gradually through league and Champions League football.
The Founding Clubs have pledged to spread their earnings down the football pyramid, but the question is how much, and whether or not they’ll even keep their word.
This would have a catastrophic impact for the broader football pyramid. Particularly in England, clubs have been running out of money, furloughing staff, struggling to pay players and it will only get worse.
Domestic leagues will decline dramatically if big clubs have a place in the Super League assured automatically, and that will have a lasting impact on those with less financial backing.
The romance of the game and fair competition
Those Champions League stories mentioned earlier, Wigan Athletic winning the FA Cup in 2013 and being relegated days later, Leicester City lifting the Premier League in 2016.
These are the events that make football what it is. The thrill of competition, the highs and lows of victory and defeat, and they would all be no more with the introduction of the Super League.
The 15 Founding Clubs automatically having their places secured in the Super League regardless of performance would completely eradicate the significance of fair competition.
The participating clubs will be able to coast through domestic seasons – if they do continue playing domestically – knowing that there is no risk of relegation in the Super League and that their financial muscles will allow them to spend millions in the next transfer window anyway.
Speaking of the transfer window…
If the transfer market hadn’t already descended into insanity with absurd transfer fees, then it certainly will now.
Clubs in the Super League are rumoured to be in line to receive around £400 million as an up-front payment for simply playing in the competition, without even taking into account competition earnings and TV deals after that.
These powerhouses will have the selection of any player they want and poorer clubs will drive prices up for their players knowing that Super League clubs have the money to spend.
This will then further increase the gap between the regular Super League teams and the rest of football. With another 18 games at least to be added to teams’ calendars, their squad size will need to increase massively.
Clubs participating in the Super League will be able to buy more stars than they could possibly need, creating the ability to play almost entirely different squads in separate competitions.
International football won’t be the same
With the threats from FIFA and UEFA that participating players will be banned from playing for their countries, all of a sudden the World Cup, Euros, Copa America and more tournaments could look very different.
Imagine a World Cup without Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and all the rest of the game’s biggest names.
The World Cup is supposed to be the ultimate prize in world football, even in world sport. It is the tournament that captures the attention of hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
But the Super League could tear it all apart. The world’s best players would be at home and the World Cup would, again, become just another competition. A glorified Olympics.