European Super League Debacle Finally Comes to an End, or Does It?

2021-04-22 Football

This past few days, European football has been on the verge of turmoil following the 12 elit clubs' sudden decision to announce the European Super League as an exclusive yet more profitable competition than the current UEFA Champions League last Sunday. Those 12 initiators are Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City and Tottenham. Such plan defintely enrages UEFA as they were just working on the new format of UCL which has been considered already more in favour of the big clubs with tradition to end the prospect of such breakaway league. The European football governing body through its president, Alexander Ceferin, responded bitterly and is ready to capitalise the threats he has warned a few months ago when this issue came to the surface, which is banning each and every party involved in that project, including the players, managers, coaches from all major international tournaments like EURO, World Cup, Champions League, Europa League and even their own domestic competitions. It can be effective starting on this week, including this seasons UCL and Europa League, which has reached semifinal.


Such threat seemingly did not impact them at first. Those 12 so-called ESL founding clubs led by Real Madrid president, Florentio Perez, were even ready to take legal action to confront UEFA and FIFA, which soon join forces to criticise the project. However, in less than 48 hours, the massive protests and critics from the fans, players, managers, former players, media and even governments in some countries rose from every corners leaving some teams in such closed union in doubts to move forward. It began with the strikes outside Stamford Bridge, then in Anfield and other places. Two EPL clubs, The Blues and The Citizens eventually decided to pull out of the union. Soon some others such as Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, and the Milan duo also opted for withdrawal. Such step also pushed the remaining ones to do the same till only three teams left, Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona, staying in the union on Wednesday night.


The storm may have officially passed today but Florentino Perez does not seem to give up. He even mentioned some of the controversial statements about ESL which in his belief, could save football in the future. In his opinion, such tournament, which offers lucrative deals for their contenstant and supported by the global financial institution, JP Morgan, can attract younger fans who has been distracted by other platforms of entertainment since the games always involve the big teams and could even be modified by reducing its length as Los Blancos president thinks football match today is too long. He also feels certain that if UEFA keeps doing what they are doing without any drastic changes, then football will die by 2024, the year when the new Champions League format is bound to start. The union's chairman even said that nobody could really just leave the project as they have signed the contract. So the ESL, for him, is simply only on a 'stand by' mode.


UEFA surely is preparing a plan to respond Perez and his disciples, the American owners in EPL clubs regarding such closed-tournament which guarantees more profit to the teams involved. It has been considered a serious misconduct in football as it kills its main element, fairplay. Such exclusive concept seems to be inspired by the American model competition such as NBA, NFL and MLS which business is prioritised and fair competition is only secondary. The gap between big teams and the rest will be even wider, if ESL does start. So what comes next? The battle between Perez and his 'European Perez League' against UEFA might still continue.