With our theme of looking into the future of football this week coinciding with the Champions League games, it got me thinking about the taboo idea of a European Super League forming in the future. The Champions League has played a huge part in the expansion of football as a global brand but is part of the progression a formation of a Super League featuring the best teams in the world? Would it be exciting knowing that your team (whether that be Manchester United or City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool or Chelsea) will be playing the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan and Bayern Munich twice a season rather than travelling to Wigan and Blackpool? Or would the fans of the latter mentioned teams lose support because there is no visit from the big clubs anymore?
In 2009 Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he felt a European Super League could happen in the next decade. With the vast amount of money involved in football, especially the Champions League, you can see why there may be plans on the horizon in in the beautiful game. Just take a look at the reputation of the FA Cup, which has declined since the rise of the Champions League, and the importance to finish in the top four. Maybe in the future, the Premier League might lose the same appeal if the richest/biggest clubs are the only real competitors and the only real competition is from the occasional European games.
I imagine the concept working with a 20 to 24 team league structure full of all the best teams in Europe competing over home and away fixtures throughout a season. There is the possibility of a play-off at the end of the season with the top 4 clubs competing over semi-final and final rounds to determine the European Champions. However, there may be some debate over to which teams qualify as I am sure UEFA would want to include teams from all over Europe rather than fill it with teams from England, Spain, Italy and Germany. So what are all the positives to this possible future proposition for football?
– Entertaining fixtures week in and week out. It will be a showcase of the best teams in the world competing against each other over a whole season, TV deals with clubs will be as high earning as ever and the demand for tickets will see average stadium attendances over the 100,000 mark.
– Football evolution. In the history books of football there have always been changes to the game so that it progresses and this European Super League will be seen as an improvement to the game as a whole. The days when European Cup football was competed over a knock-out competition will be seen as out dated.
– There could still be a chance for those breakaway clubs to compete domestically in their national cup competitions.
– After a few seasons UEFA will be forced to form a European Super League Two to open up more competition with a promotion and relegation system introduced. Eventually more leagues will be introduced, creating a European type pyramid league system.
– Global club football. The formation of the Super League persuaded South America and Central America to create a similar league structure and the World Club Cup tournament compliments the season.
– The quality of international football increases with the best players in the world playing against each other on a regular basis.
Personally I would not like to see a European Super League because it would be a change in football for the worse. However, I do believe that it will be formed in the future due to the rich clubs getting richer and the potential in profit that a Super League would create. Although, domestically in England, I believe clubs would still be able to survive due to the love of football in this country. Let’s have a look at the negative points to a Super League…
– The history of football will be changed forever if the Super League was to be created. The league competition domestically across Europe will lose all its foundations and may see clubs going out of business. Might as well rip up the record books and start again.
– The new Super League persuades clubs to become franchises and those clubs involved will lose touch with their fans for the sake of the clubs ‘brand’. Clubs relocating becomes a trend, players start to reach £500,000 a week salaries with £200 million transfer fees!
– A breakaway league causes such a divide with the domestic leagues that a divide in the sport occurs. With UEFA’s rules for the Super League no longer recognised by the FAs nationally and FIFA is forced to only accept players from the Super League for international football (Think Rugby League and Union).
– Therefore the clubs competing in the Super League would not be allowed to enter domestic cup competitions or play friendly games with clubs from the national leagues.
– The pyramid system advances so far that the future European League (five) sees the likes of Wigan Athletic playing Monaco which sets new records for lowest attendances and television views.
– Fans of the Super League clubs become disillusioned and form new clubs encouraged by the successes of AFC Wimbledon and FC United.
– After several seasons the Super League has lost that special Champions League feeling that it was based on. Fans shunned by their now franchised clubs are starting to protest and demand a return to the domestic league structure of the past.
My alternative would be to move the Champions League tournament to the end of the domestic leagues and played within a month like FIFA’s World Cup. Domestic leagues would run earlier and finish early with winter breaks; this would allow clubs to focus on domestic and European competitions individually, which would increase competition.