A Kick In The Gut

crown

(Updated April 19, 2021)

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

thesuperleague.com

Well, this has been an interesting start to the week.

If you haven’t heard (or if you’re American), a number of the biggest and richest football (soccer?) clubs in Europe have set up a new elite league following proposals that had gone on for presumably the last 15 years or so.

The league consists of 15 founder clubs (only 12 mentioned so far with a further 3 to be included later on) and another 5 that will qualify on an annual basis based on performance.

It was initially set up not to replace the top flight leagues (Premier League, La Liga, etc.) but to act as a new midweek league. That’s a whole different story now with football’s governing bodies (FIFA, UEFA) and the domestic leagues themselves opposing the whole thing. Leaving the elite clubs with one of two choices. Abandon the Super League or break away from their domestic leagues. 

Also termed as “a league with no competition” or “the Americanization of football,” a major factor in play is that it goes against what makes European football special – no club is ever secure of its place in the league, and although quite rare, any club can climb up the top flight stairs and create history (Nottingham Forest, 1979).

This will, of course, still be possible even if the top clubs break away from their domestic leagues, but the argument is that it will then not be as rewarding or even as meaningful due to the element of competition the big clubs bring to the leagues. Not to mention the widely pronounced financial motivation behind this whole thing.

All of this explains the outrage among football supporters worldwide. A feeling of betrayal that the history of their clubs has been compromised for larger profit margins and Thursdays of Chelsea vs Juventus in the Saudi Arabian desert or whatever. Rightfully so. Who has the money to go to Tokyo every week?

You Lose

The European Super League’s an ugly mess. No doubt about it. But there are other forces also in play here.

A major one being the media. (what a surprise.) You’ve just found out that your beloved club doesn’t care about you, only your money. Tough luck. But this lot doesn’t give a rat’s ass about you either.

First of all, if you’re a football supporter, you already know that owners (mostly big club owners) mainly invest in clubs due to the business aspect of the game. Which means you really shouldn’t be surprised about anything he’s said. But because it’s ‘exclusive’ information from one of those close to the kingpin, it is now be termed as “authentic news reporting.” Even though you would’ve guessed what was going on without the “intel” anyways.

Similar to a reporter being sent out on location to cover a flood or a hurricane when in reality, the guys in the studio have better, more accurate data. An illusion of authenticity. “I’m being true to myself.” Woof! Good luck with that.

Back to Solhekol. He reads, “companies in the US and Saudi Arabia have been sounded out about buying the broadcast rights to the new league.” First of all, who even cares about who’s going to be the primary broadcaster of the Super League? Answer; the guys who aren’t going to be the primary broadcasters of the Super League.

This is not to say that individually there aren’t any reporters genuinely concerned about the future of football. I’m pretty sure many are. But on a larger scale, Fulham vs West Ham is not even worth the salt compared to the El Classico in Singapore. And a similar argument can be made about the governing bodies like UEFA.

One funny thing in all of this is seeing the media criticize UEFA for going all out to stop The Super League while not being strict enough on issues like racism. Get this through your mind. This is a “war” of the elites. One disguised as a “war on football.” Whether the Super League happens or not, if you’re a fan of any of the 12 clubs, you’ll still lose. You don’t need me to explain that to you.

You Lose, Again

And then there’s you. One element of good old capitalism is that the rage within you is not because you don’t own a Mercedes, but because the other guy does i.e. a summary on why income redistribution is a joke. “I have so much anxiety these days.” Get your priorities straight.

You see social workers rant about how “those privileged people don’t even know how much effort we put into helping these kids” Whether that’s true or not is not the point. The point is that the motivation is not “I’m helping these kids because they need a home,” the motivation is “I’m helping these kids because I’m better than these sick fucks.”

You don’t say it, of course (because you’re being lied to by yourself) but you’ve somehow managed to turn a situation about homeless kids around and made it all about you. Congratulations, Satan.

The rage toward the clubs in the Super League is clear. And for some, this rage has overshadowed the concern for the afflicted parties. Be it the fans, the other clubs in the whole football pyramid, the communities around them, the coming generation.

James Corden hopes that all football fans will remember the names of these owners. “Don’t forget the people who did this.” I don’t doubt his concern, but that doesn’t really help anyone, does it?

Covid sucks – I say that with a heavy heart. And football has been a huge part in getting a lot of people through it. The situation is not made any better when you consider all this. And I sympathize with you.

For what it’s worth, I say the Super League is not going to happen – at least not now. And when it does, it’ll still get some traction despite your stand on the issue. Especially from the coming generation. I just hope you won’t be the “football back in my day was real football” type of uncle.

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