Since the 1950s, European club competition has been a staple of The Beautiful Game. Simply put, it is a competition that determines who’s the cream of the crop. However, today’s news that would create a new, exclusive league for Europe’s top teams threatens to upend all of that.
The European Super League, a league that would send ripples throughout the European game, was announced today, and was immediately met with intense criticism and threats from UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, as well as the FAs (footballing associations) of each of the countries from which the league’s 15 teams hail. In fact, UEFA has threatened to ban teams that participate in the European Super League starting next season, even though the ESL wouldn’t start until 2023. Also, they’ve announced that players who participate in the league would be banned from international play as well.
Basically, everyone’s upset that the continent’s best teams want to take their ball and go play by themselves, and I honestly can’t blame them. Part of what makes soccer amazing in when the minnows rise up and upset the giants. Another aspect of what makes it so terrific is that games between the best teams are eagerly anticipated, because they only happen every so often, but with the ESL, they’d happen on a weekly basis, which takes the excitement away.
So, why has this happened. Well, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has become frustrated that UEFA won’t make improvements to the Champions League, which has kept it current format since 1992. Now, Perez is supposed to be the chairman of the European Super League, but I have a sneaky suspicion that this is just a power move to force UEFA into making bigger improvements than the ones that they’re supposed to be announcing tomorrow.
In fact, I have a feeling that the European Super League won’t actually happen, but that Perez wants to fool UEFA into thinking that it will so that they’ll beg for big teams like Real Madrid and Manchester United to remain in the Champions League and they’ll make concessions in order to do so.
As it stands now, however, the European Super League is a terrible idea, and I really hope it doesn’t happen. The future of European club competition might be irrevocably changed if it does.