The Super League?
It is very difficult to get a handle on this news. I have decided to start on the positive because everything seems negative. Can I see any positives? I sat down and drew a mindmap to see what I came up with. The only way I could see positives was through the mindset of the owners. What will they get if they succeed? Stability, profits and, crucially, control. They will make the rules. If necessary, they can ditch Uefa, Fifa and all country associations. New league, new rules, and a stable way to plan the future.
Let’s take my club, Arsenal, and extrapolate from them my arguments. They have been weakened in recent years and have dropped down the table. Similar has happened to Liverpool and Manchester United in recent years. A.C Milan and Inter as well. Probably only Athletico of the Spanish teams truly fear this but Juventus have had to comeback from demotion and pesky control from above. Now, with one bound, Arsenal are back on top, competing with the best. Leicester and Everton can whistle Dixie if they like.
Let’s face it, this is no surprise. This song keeps coming back, staying in our head as a permanent earworm. The big clubs, boosted by the incredible appeal of the Premier League (6 clubs, baby) and the Champions League, don’t want to lose that massive TV money. And they don’t want any more newcomers like Leicester spoiling their profits. Arsenal v Manchester United is a big game, Fulham v Burnley is, neh!
20 teams involved. Seems to indicate that there have been soundings and quiet agreements. Bayern, Dortmund, Ajax, Porto and PSG spring to mind. A couple of French as well? Red Bull? Seems like a good move for them. The German clubs have to hold fire as their ownership is different. But it is a symbiotic relationship, based on them being at the top table.
So, who has the power?
Whenever I see a struggle, I ask myself who has the power? Let’s take my previous paragraph as correct and the rest of the top teams want to come on board. They probably have the power, at least to wreck the powerbase of FiFa/Uefa. The associations have the most to lose as they are not popular among football fans. They have been corrupt and inept so often that few feel they act in the best interests of football. So they will want to survive this challenge to keep their powerbase and their gravy train going.
And that, my friends, means a compromise. There is a huge amount of room between what we have at the moment and this new breakaway. Plenty of scope for both sides to claim victory. It is also possible that we have seen a enormous amount of sabre rattling and a rough agreement has already been sorted, and after a fake fight, the real new deal will be unveiled. That, if true, in some ways will be good, as a lot of things will stay the same. However, the balance of power will have shifted to the clubs. Fifa/Uefa will survive but weaker.
One thing that won’t change or be compromised is that the big clubs can’t drop out. They need that or this whole power grab won’t work out. So they may allow some form of promotion and relegation but only those who get promoted will be relegated. Say 5 teams come in the first year, after that the lowest 2-3 of the promoted clubs get relegated. Still keeps the American dream ideal that a team can come from nowhere and eat at the big table.
Bye bye Fifa/Uefa?
I cannot see any way that Fifa/Uefa can come out of this stronger. The big clubs could potentially make the total breakaway work. These clubs fanbases, particularly if the other big clubs come on board, are, I guess, far bigger than all the rest of the world’s teams combined. They seem, to my mind, to have the marginally stronger hand, certainly than the world bodies. Do they have a stronger hand than the fans?
Gianni Infantino. Or this guy to be our hero?
It is hard to say. I have seen many changes in my time. Most, like this, are for the benefit of the powerful. A smaller premier league, bigger tv money for the big clubs, rejigging the Champions League and Europa league so top teams stay involved near the end. Manchester United are in the semifinal of the Europa League long after being dumped out of the Champions league. Allowing owners to leverage the assets of clubs to take over, meaning the clubs have huge debts. Billionaire owners distorting all rules of fair competition to the detriment of small clubs. The fans keep going along with everything. Is there a parting position? Where they say no way? So far, I haven’t seen it.
The only sure thing I can say for certain is that the European Super League clubs chose now, before the season ended to make their move. On the surface that looks crazy. But is it? Can Uefa really stop all affected championships, cups and the European trophies now without looking bad? And the Euros for the summer? How will that play out for them? Will they end up looking as inept as they always do? The big clubs have put a gun to their head. Have Uefa the cojones to stand up to them? And do they believe they have the support of the footballing community if they do so? And even if they do believe so, do they really?
Can we really take power back?
I guess you want my conclusion with the limited knowledge we have at the moment? I suspect it is a done deal. After a phony war, a compromise will be reached that keeps many things the same, except that the big clubs have far more power.
If you want to know what I would like to see happen, I will oblige. It is that the footballing community take them on and win. I hate the idea of relying on Uefa/Fifa to fight our battles and don’t trust them. Both of the sides need to be taken on and defeated and a new controlling body set up. All these billionaire owners be thrown on the street. Only fan organisations can own clubs and the ideal of true, fair, sporting competition be brought back. We love our clubs, but slowly, we have come to hate many aspects of them. Only fans can achieve those ideals. It can be done. Let’s make it happen.
I don't trust what's behind those glasses