Written by: Jagat
Edited by: Lucas
Visual by: Kailani
Perhaps the most fundamental aspect to modern day football is its adherence to the traditional structure of domestic leagues. In countries such as the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France, there is an overarching national tier system of divisions of football leagues, which allows for even the smallest clubs to climb their way to the top in a Cinderella story. For example, the highest level of English football is played in the Premier league, while the second tier is the Championship. Few international competitions exist, such as the UEFA organized Champions League, prioritizing national growth of the sport before intercontinental business. This league system has taken more than a hundred years to perfect, validated by generations of fans and supporters. But what if one abrupt profit-motivated decision completely disregarded this inherent arrangement and forever offsetted the dynamic of these leagues?
On Sunday, April 18, a shocking announcement was made to take the most successful teams from the top 5 European football leagues (Premier League, La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A, Bundesliga) to form a 12-15 team year-round Super League in replacement of the regular domestic leagues for these select clubs. In essence, the clubs that most defined their domestic leagues, the faces of these competitions, would have to leave their club history behind for the Super League. While this may sound extremely unfavorable for these clubs to take part in, the economic growth that they would receive from this change would be astronomical. Matches every week would be spectacles between the best teams in the world, thus, contracts with broadcasting channels would likely be very high. At the end of the day, football is still a capitalist business.
As expected, when news broke about possibly establishing the Super League, fans were appalled, both from fans of clubs taking part in the league and those from clubs that were not. After all, decades of league and club history would be neglected. Taka (10), an avid supporter of Chelsea, one of six English sides intending on joining the league, commented that “It was a disgrace to football fans and culture.” Other fans noted that the secretiveness of this plan reinforced a consensus that teams were acting less and less in accordance with their fans’ desires. A storm of criticism on social media of the Super League echoed these same ideas through #NoToTheSuperLeague.
The surge of the concept of a breakaway Super League was met with heavy condemnation from renowned football associations and government figures. FIFA, the international federation governing association football, warned that player participation in the Super League could result in them being ineligible to play in the World Cup, the most important competition in any player’s career. Even Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, publicly denounced the efforts of clubs to leave the Premier League. Actions by both governing bodies and fans led to this deal being less and less likely, and eventually, the concept of the Super League was dismantled.