By now most Manchester United fans will have heard about the failed attempt to establish a European Super League. It is no surprise that such a vile and disrespectful attempt to franchise the beautiful game was led by the likes of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the Glazers, Kroenke of Arsenal and the chairman of Fenway Sports Group John W Henry who owns the Team That Shall Not Be Named. It is also no surprise that the likes of Tottenham, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, and Manchester Shitty are the teams to coattail the idea.
Why is none of this a surprise, you might ask? All these teams have one of two things in common. First, like the Spanish and Italian clubs that are a part of this ungodly mess, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal are in massive amounts of debt. These nine teams owe, collectively almost $10 billion.
Second, the teams not in a mountain of debt, ie. Chelsea, Man Shitty and The Team That Shall Not Be Named, are money grabbers. All three of these teams have owners that are purely interested in making money. One team is owned by a Russian mobster, another is owned by a Sheikh of a country that is happy to violate human rights and the third is owned by an American group that is the pinnacle of American greed and excess. They saw an opportunity to guarantee annual dividends and revenue and they took it.
So, is it really a surprise that any of theses teams was involved in franchising the most lucrative competition on the planet? No not really. They all wanted the money, or they needed the money.
UEFA started this Fight
UEFA recently proposed changes to the Champions League that nets them more money and forces teams to play more games across a wider area of Europe. This will require teams to travel more and play more games when the fixture list is already extremely congested. UEFA will also net more profits from these games without necessarily giving that money to the teams in the competition.
Under the purposed system UEFA will do away with group games. Instead, each team will play ten games against ten different opponents out of a pool of 36. Each team will play five home and five away matches. Points will be tallied the same way they are in league football, with three points for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss.
The top eight teams will automatically qualify for the round of 16. The teams in placed 9th to 16th will play at home against teams seeded 17th to 24th in a playoff round to determine the last eight teams to qualify for the last 16. From the round of 16 on everything is the same as the current format.
When UEFA announced, behind closed doors a few months ago, that they wanted to make these changes Woodward, Perez and Co. clearly saw this as an opportunity to throw the ESL as a counter punch. The backlash from the fans has been so severe across the board that the ESL plan was rapidly scrapped…for now. This is exactly what UEFA wanted because it gives them the leverage to say that the ESL was so inflammatory that their plan seems tame.
This is Only the Beginning…
The real problem that we face as football fans of any of these teams is that this is only the beginning. The ESL has been in the works for almost ten years. Coincidence or hindsight that Ed Woodward first took over as United Executive Vice Chairman about ten years ago? The ESL was almost certainly the baby of Woodward and Perez, who were clearly waiting for their opportunity to pounce.
The teams leading the ESL charge are in so much debt that they couldn’t stand to see UEFA take a larger profit while making teams travel more and play more games. Considering the dramatic failure of the ESL, we can know one thing for sure, this fight is not over. The ESL breakaway teams still do not like the changes UEFA wants to make, so we better believe that there is going to be another ridiculous proposal from these teams.
They Will Stop at Nothing
The Glazers issued a half apology that I’d expect from a teenage boy explaining why he crashed the car driving 80mph in a 40mph zone just to get to school on time after leaving 20 minutes late. There are no excuses the fans should accept for United’s central role in this scheme. In the media, Perez keeps insisting that this is not over and that these ESL teams have binding contracts. AC Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid, and Barcelona still have not officially withdrawn from the league.
This is not over! The greed of people like the Glazers, Kroenke, Henry, Sheikh Mansour, Perez, Agnelli of Juventus and Abramovic knows no bounds. Teams like Inter, AC Milan and Atletico will need to join in as well simply because their one-time dominance of Europe is fading, and they can’t face being left behind. Tottenham were desperate to join so they could project the appearance of a “big club”, while being the farthest thing from it. These teams, and possibly more, will be back with another proposal in an attempt to strong arm money from wherever they can get it.
Who knows what this new attempt will look like. One thing is for sure though, fans across the board seem to be united against the idea of franchising this amazing sport. If we as fans can maintain our resolve, then we can succeed in rebuking whatever these greedy owners want to throw at us.
Glory, Glory Man United