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 EUROPEAN      his old club and the intended   leaving the old First Division   money coming in from ticket
            break-away. By Monday
                                                                               sales. It is rumoured that the
                                              because they wanted more
            lunch, some of the biggest
                                                                               most successful club of the
                                              control and more money. If
            names in the sport had openly
                                                                               past two decades – Barcelona
                                              memory serves correctly,
            decried the league. At 2pm,
                                              Everton was on board for that.
                                                                               - has debts of over one billion
            UEFA president Aleksander
                                                It is rumoured that the
                                                                               super clubs would not only
            Ceferin had condemned the
            idea, calling the instigating     most successful club of          euros. With the ESL, these
                                                                               have guaranteed admission to
            presidents “snakes” and           the past two decades –           the most lucrative competition
            immediately pulling his trump     Barcelona - has debts of         in the world, but also a joining
 SUPER LEAGUEEAGUE  the ESL would be banned from   the ESL would remove any    courtesy of the league’s
                                              over one billion euros.
            card: all players suiting up for
                                                                               payment of Euro 400 million,
                                               The difference here is that
                                                                               American backers.
            international football. The
            UK government stepped in,
                                                                                 All of this made the move
            Downing Street saying it would
                                              equation. Effectively, the ESL
            do whatever it could to stop      notion of merit from the         attractive at board level, but
 By Tim Mottram   this breakaway (though there   would have been a closed      the knock on would have
            are credible reports that British   shop. The founding clubs       been disastrous. A natural
 magine this: It is a   and posts that brighten the   that some kind of breakaway   PM Boris Johnson thought it   would have been guaranteed   consequence of entrenching
 glowing evening in   front of his phone, as fans and   Super League was forming.   was a “good idea” before the   inclusion. Football has   the founding clubs in the
 April 2022. Flood   executives send through their   Behind the scenes, the founding   backlash).  traditionally been based on   premier club competition
 Ilights illuminate   messages of gratitude.  members were being cajoled   By Tuesday, the cracks   a system of promotion and   would be a stratification where
 colossal stadiums around   For he has saved football.   and enticed, phones were   started to show. Fans were   relegation. Of course, today   the national leagues would
 Europe: The Camp Nou, Old   There are possibly only   buzzing and numbers being   protesting in the streets, and   the super clubs hold all the   effectively be made up of
 Trafford, San Siro. Fans slide   three individuals in the world   presented. No one really trusted   clubs were worried. Like a   good cards. They have the   feeder clubs. Quality players
 through the turn-styles,   who may have enjoyed this   anyone else, and no one club   teenager not invited to a party,   support, disproportionate   would be skimmed from the
 finally back in their tens   fantasy back in April of this   wanted to jump before any   the second tier clubs started   revenues from broadcasters,   other clubs, and the ability to
 of thousands to support   year: Juventus president   other. But finally, the message   to complain bitterly about the   global support networks and   break into this elite would only
 the greatest teams on the   Andrea Agnelli, his Barcelona   was made clear: this bullet train   elite having it their own way,   limitless sponsorship deals.   be possible if a petro-nation
 planet after the harrowing   counterpart Joan Laporta and   is leaving the station NOW. Get   and how they wouldn’t have   They gobble up the best talent   came along and bought it out.
 days of the pandemic.   Perez himself. The brain-trusts   on, or miss out.   gone even if they had been   and managers. But against all   So called Legacy Fans would be
 The giants of European   of the other 13 teams who   invited. By midnight, all the   that, they still have to qualify   stuck with a team that played
 football kick off, the times   signed up for the breakaway   Fans were   English clubs are out, and the   for the Champions League.   under a low ceiling, while the
 staggered of course, to   European Super League were   protesting in the   ESL is effectively dead.  Every year at least four of the   elite effectively colonised the
 ensure that fans at home   most likely just experiencing   To an outsider, the visceral   founding twelve scramble for   global market. It would be a
 get to watch every single   whatever board-level FOMO   streets, and clubs   reaction must seem a little   fourth or fifth in their domestic   dystopian sporting nightmare.
 minute of every single   looks like.   were worried...  odd. This league would   leagues just so they can make   Perez, Agnelli and Laporta
 game. The biggest names in   The rise and fall of the Super   basically replace one European   it into Europe. This can make   have not backed down, flailing
 world football run, tackle,   League is a story of the times,   By the evening of that   competition with another.   accounting in these clubs   wildly as they threaten the
 hit the post, and score goal   where smug entitlement and   Sunday, six clubs from England,   Twenty teams would play   enormously difficult. With   other founding clubs that they
 after beautiful goal.  self-perpetuating greed finally   three from Italy and three   midweek in group stages until   hundreds of millions on the   are obliged to join. UEFA has
 High in his box, overlooking   hit a wall - hard. Locked away in   from Spain will be founding a   a knock-out phase, then a   line, organising the incomings   leverage against them in the
 this triumph of commerce and   their sleek towers and towering   so-called Super League, which   final with huge coverage and   and outgoings for a club like   short term, but compromise
 community, sits Real Madrid   boxes, the boards of the   would effectively replace the   grandiosity. The biggest clubs   Tottenham Hotspurs affects   is needed. In a world where
 president Florentino Perez.   founding clubs forgot two hard   Champions league.   in Europe would make up most   everything, but particularly   money means everything, the
 Smiling benignly down on   truths about football. One is   By Monday morning, things   of the spots in the quarter   player wages.   ghost of the European Super
 the crowd like some secular   that you need fans. The second   were not going to plan. The   and semi finals. Besides,   Then add in the Covid effect.   League will haunt European
 Pope, he only pauses from his   is you need competition.   day before, Gary Neville,   breakaways have happened   Clubs are over-leveraged as   football for years to come.
 enjoyment of the beautiful   On Sunday, April 18th, leaks   commentator and Manchester   before. The Premier League   player wages become ever
 game to glance over the tweets   and rumours started to emerge   United supporter, castigated   was a consequence of clubs   higher, and there is virtually no

 6  |  TOUCHLINEMAGAZINE.COM                                                     TOUCHLINEMAGAZINE.COM  |  77
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