Super League Fallout
Many in Europe were having a good night’s rest and those in America prepared to finish a typical day at work, then the news broke. The news had broken. News that would shake the entire world and tarnish the beautiful game forever. Many believed it was the day that football died. The announcement of a European Super League would see a complete Americanization of the game. 12 gigantic teams from across Europe, 6 from the EPL, were going to create their own league.
When the announcement was made all believed that football would never be the same again. How could football keep its competitiveness, drama, and beauty in such a world? What would happen to every other team across Europe that was left out of this so called “Super League”? Well, fortunately we’ll never have to know. As quickly as this league was announced, it was squashed in a united effort of football fans from all clubs. The day football died may now be remembered as the day that football was saved.
The Power of the Fans
Whether you’re a Manchester United fan, a Liverpool fan, or even a bloody Chelsea fan, was of no matter. All fans came together in unity to show the billionaire owners of every club who’s really in charge. Everyone was left in shock when they heard the news, but all quickly got to work. This Super League would not happen if the fans had anything to say about it, and they certainly did. Fans from all 6 EPL clubs to join this league stormed their clubs stadiums, facilities, and even training grounds. They were determined to take their club back.
Chelsea fans were some of the first fans to truly cause chaos, as they stopped the Chelsea team bus from getting into Stamford Bridge before a match with Crystal Palace. Then the Liverpool fans hung signs at Anfield and burned jerseys outside the stadium. The scenes of these protests were immense and almost looked like protests over something political. Perhaps they were overreacting, after all this is just a game. But, it’s not just a game is it? At least not to every football fan, as the game is a way of life for many. Not only is it the game these fans hold dear, but their clubs. These clubs were built from the ground up by their fans as far back as the 1800’s and they’ve helped their communities grow. From the time of the Industrial Revolution Mancunians have seen each matchday as the pinnacle of their week.
Within just 48 hours fans were able to come together and completely dismantle this Super League. First Chelsea was reported to be pulling out of the league, then Manchester City pulled out. Shortly thereafter the remaining EPL clubs also pulled out. Followed by a series of apologies and excuses form club owners. The footballing world was knocked down, but it got back up.
The Fallout So Far
When news officially broke that all 6 EPL clubs set to join the Super League had pulled out, there was a real sense of relief. Then fear began to take hold again. What is to stop these clubs from trying this again in the future? How can we prevent this? Can things just go back to normal now? Should these clubs all be punished in some way? It’s an extremely complicated situation, but the dominos have begun to fall.
Ed Woodward, the long hated Executive Vice Chairman of Manchester United resigned the day the club pulled out of the Super League. Something many Man United fans have celebrated, but they know the main culprits still linger. The fans immediately turned to protesting the Glazer ownership, as they always have. Although, this time it just feels different. Arsenal fans have forced their owners hand and the club is reportedly up for sale. The CEO of Spotify is reportedly in talks to buy the club. This is a positive sign for all fans. All Man United fans hate Arsenal, but their fans have shown we do have the power to take control of their club.
Almost every owner of these six EPL clubs is now under immense pressure. Many of these clubs probably assumed that once they pulled from the super league that would be the end of it. The fans have proven quite the contrary and all of these clubs are facing fan protests. Not only are the fans protesting but the UK government has said they will look into strategies to prevent this type of behavior in the future. The government has claimed it is a matter of protecting the nation’s culture.
Several strategies are being discussed to prevent the possibility of some European Super League in the future. Primarily in England, where even the prime minister has sworn to take action. One of the most talked about strategies is implementing the 50 plus one rule utilized in Germany. Let’s not forget that not a single German club had shown interest in this super league. Why is this? Why are German clubs so resilient to this and why are its fans so passionate?
The 50 plus one rule means that fans have the majority of power within a club. The fans own 50% of shares plus one. Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said, “The German spectator traditionally has close ties with his club, and if he gets the feeling that he’s no longer regarded as a fan but instead as a customer, we’ll have a problem” (Schueber, 2017). The fans have true power in Germany and its clubs know this. Club investors can not push their own agendas. These owners and investors can’t make money the sole purpose of investing in their respective clubs.
50 +1 Explained
Alexander Schueber writes: “The 50+1 rule guards against this. In short, it means that clubs – and, by extension, the fans – hold a majority of their own voting rights. Under German Football League [DFL] rules, football clubs will not be allowed to play in the Bundesliga if commercial investors have more than a 49 percent stake.” (Schueber, 2017). The 50 plus one rule has assisted the fans in keeping ticket prices low and preventing their clubs from making reckless decisions. Like the Bundesliga or not, one can’t deny it is a top league and its fans are among the best in the world.
The 50 plus one rule will be hard to implement but it’s possible. Perhaps with government help, the EPL could use this rule implementation as punishment. Let’s end with a quote from former UEFA president Michel Platini, “While the rest of Europe has boring leagues, half-empty stadia and clubs on the verge of bankruptcy, German football is in remarkable health.” (Schueber, 2017). EPL fans and the UK government only have one option when it comes to safeguarding its game, the 50 plus one rule.
For even more information on Germany’s 50 plus one rule, click the link below. https://www.bundesliga.com/en/news/Bundesliga/german-soccer-rules-50-1-fifty-plus-one-explained-466583.jsp