Elite football Super League: a flash in the pan?

On Monday night, twelve leading European football clubs announced the launch of their own new league. Now the six British clubs have withdrawn their support, but the plans are not yet entirely off the table. Europe's best and most popular clubs have long been demanding more money from the marketing of the Uefa Champions League, for which the Super League would be a direct rival.

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The Times (GB) /

Time for reform

English football must learn the lessons from this episode, The Times demands:

“As this debacle has revealed, it has been too open to oligarchs and kleptocrats who care little for the heritage of the clubs they have bought. The lack of any salary controls has caused costs to spiral, undermining the economics of many clubs. And a growing divide has opened up between rich and poor clubs that has been accentuated by the pandemic. The super league would not only have deepened these problems but threatened to destroy the Premier League upon which the success of English football is based. ... Now that the plot has been foiled, the priority must be to reform the governance of football so no one can pull such a stunt again.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Everything heading in this direction

There's no need for a Super League; Uefa is already doing its best to commercialise professional football to the max, Gazeta Wyborcza criticises:

“The discussion about the Super League is obscuring Monday's Uefa decision to adopt new rules for the Champions League. The number of matches will be increased from 125 to 225, and the principle of 'everyone against everyone' in the group stage will be exchanged for the so-called 'Swiss system', which protects the interests of the rich even more than before. ... Without changing the logo, this is a further step - one of many in the last 25 years - towards creating a Super League. We've grown so accustomed to the Champions League that we accept it all.”

La Razón (ES) /

Good for sport, good for Europe

In La Razón's opinion, the Super League is a wonderful project:

“It might not be good for Uefa, but it's certainly good for football. After all, it's not just a sport but also a powerful cultural industry whose future should be in the hands of the clubs that have been able to present it on a global scale and make it a mirror of social values. From any point of view, a competition that brings together the best teams in European football deserves the support of the public authorities, if only because it's the natural result of the process of continental integration, of a united Europe that wants to be more than just an area of economic exchange. The fact that British clubs are also among the founding clubs will do more to heal the wounds of Brexit than a thousand well-intentioned institutional declarations.”

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

Boredom guaranteed

The big names of the participating clubs won't be enough to attract more spectators in the long term, Mladá fronta dnes predicts:

“The massive opposition to the project is understandable. Two years ago, Liverpool FC coach Jürgen Klopp rightly asked why his team should go on playing against Real Madrid for ten years in a row. Who would find that entertaining? Fans will be fed up with the endless repetition of matches between VIP clubs even before the first one has kicked off. Perhaps for this reason alone there's still a chance that the beauty of football will not drown in a sea of money.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Business demands certainties

This war of secession is an inevitable consequence of the clubs' financial crisis and marks the definitive break between the game and the business, analyses La Repubblica:

“On the one hand the achievements, the sweat, the beating hearts in the stadium and the unpredictability of the result. On the other hand the business, the event, the need to satisfy the user who wields the remote control and demands only the best matches, in a succession of repetitions in which ever the same people end up playing. ... Business demands numbers and certainties; it wants to programme outcomes and cannot be a slave to the random outcomes. In the Covid year alone, the 20 richest clubs in Europe have lost two billion.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Driven by greed

Dnevnik sees a bitter legal battle coming:

“Uefa, Fifa, the national associations, the club owners, the players, the coaches and the fans were unanimous in their initial reaction of condemning the renegade clubs' initiative. ... Uefa [with its Champions League product] and the Super League will fight tooth and nail for the public's attention, and especially for the fans and the media. Judging by the initial response, the public is firmly against a competitive system in which the elite would fight among themselves to the point of exhaustion. What about the appeal of the chance of a small club defeating a big one be, what about the classic derbies? By the looks of it everything points to a relentless and dirty legal war, because the clubs face sanctions, expulsions and claims for billions of euros in damages.”

Delfi (LT) /

Reform of the Champions League is the real goal

Even if the idea of a Super League turns out to be just a threat scenario, football will change for good, writes Delfi:

“The legendary Gary Lineker [former top English striker] has reflected on whether the founders of the Super League might perhaps just be trying to strengthen their negotiating positions and are not really intent on destroying the current system. In other words, the reform window for the Champions League should be opened. The fact is that both Uefa and Fifa are not transparent enough and in many people's view do not deserve to be trusted. One thing is clear: a revolution in football is approaching. However, revolutions often eat their children.”