“Just keep in mind, if a system remains unchecked and unquestioned, it starts to create its own rules and force others to follow it”

 

A football fan hear the beating of drums in Europe and it is not the music a football fan would love to listen to; rather it is the music of war and not football carnival, which is about to hamper the harmony and peace in the world football. The game of the people is set to face the greed and ego of a group of people and this has come as an unexpected welcome to the fans that eat, sleep and drink football.

According to Reuters, “Twelve of Europe’s top football clubs launched a breakaway Super League on Sunday, launching what is certain to be a bitter battle for control of the game and its lucrative revenue.”

Newspapers reacted with outrage after 12 leading clubs announced the formation of the European Super League. Image Courtesy: The Guardian
Newspapers reacted with outrage after 12 leading clubs announced the formation of the European Super League. Image Courtesy: The Guardian

“The move sets up a rival to UEFA’s established Champions League competition and was condemned by football authorities and political leaders.”

“Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus are among the leading members of the new league but UEFA has threatened to ban them from domestic and international competition and vowed to fight the move.”

“French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson both issued statements condemning a breakaway and supporting UEFA’s position.”

“As well as United, Premier League clubs Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have signed up to the plans.”

“Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain join Real. AC Milan and Inter Milan make up the trio from Italy along with Juventus.”

“The Super League said that they aimed to have 15 founding members and a 20-team league with five other clubs qualifying each season.”

“The clubs would share a fund of 3.5 billion euros ($4.19 billion) to spend on infrastructure projects and to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money would not be available to spend on players.”

No German or French clubs have yet to be associated with the mega-plan.

Strong reactions from the heavyweights

World soccer’s governing body FIFA expressed its “disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures.”

But noticeably there was no mention of a previous threat from FIFA to ban any players taking part in a breakaway from participating in World Cups.

The announcement came just hours before UEFA is due to sign off on its own plans for an expanded and restructured 36-team Champions League on Monday.

UEFA issued a strong statement jointly with English, Spanish and Italian leagues and football federations, saying they were ready to use all measures to confront any breakaway and saying any participating clubs would be banned from domestic leagues, such as the Premier League.

“The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams,” UEFA said.

“We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

Disgraceful

“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football,” Sir Alex Ferguson told Reuters.

“Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest.”

“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is.”

“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights.”

Gary Neville was critical of this idea.

“I’m not against the modernization of football competitions, with have the Premier League, we have the Champions League,” he said.

“But to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID, in the midst of the economic crisis that exists for all clubs is an absolute scandal.”

“United and the rest of the big six clubs that have signed up to it against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.

“Are Arsenal in that? They have just drawn with Fulham, Manchester United are drawing with Burnley. I cannot concentrate on the game. To sign up to the Super League during a season is a joke, they should deduct points off all six of them.”

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy told BBC, “The plans … sound soulless! We’ve already seen strong opposition from leagues and federations who would be affected, and fans as well. Next, I think we will see a backlash from managers and players too.”

“You’re also being told you can no longer play for your country if you are part of this,” he added. “Again, that’s what you dream of doing as a kid, so I just don’t see many footballers agreeing to that, which actually gives me hope that this whole idea will quickly fall apart.”

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane said the Super League was all about “money and greed.”

“Let’s hope it’s stopped in its tracks,” he told Sky Sports.

“We talk about big clubs, Bayern Munich are one of the biggest clubs in the world. At least they’ve made a stance, which is a good start.”

Don’t embarrass the fans

The football world is in a mess when each and everyone is fighting against a deadly pandemic and this is the time, unity was much needed and in the past, the football world had shown their dignity and sensibility of the highest level during the crisis. But, the idea of the European Super League has come as a shock to the fans who love the nights of the Champions League and for a brief period this has become a legacy and the tool to forget the little battles the middle class and lower middle class overcome in their everyday life.

A Champions League night means a lot to the fans in South East Asia, Middle East, South America and Africa – and it would be quite embarrassing for them to know that the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Juventus, AC Milan, Arsenal or Manchester United are involved in such a project that is termed as disgraceful and greedy.

The idea of damage-control due to the Pandemic is nothing but a shield not only to inject short term cash but long term absolute control over the Champions League – these big clubs want to run the Champions League instead of UEFA who thought that they had kicked down the road until they were blindsided over the weekend.

When a system is remote-controlled by a bunch of cash and power-hungry people, it cannot maintain its transparency. One can bring the example of cricket here, where the majority bears the school of thought that each and everything is controlled by one particular cricket board and the rest are their puppets – at present, the transparency in cricket is always under the scrutiny and the emergence of cash-rich franchise shorter-format tournaments have only disturbed the charm of cricket – everyone knows it but none could speak against it because the mouths are shut by dollars.

Once upon a time, there was one funny circus show in England and India; but right now, this has spread everywhere like a disease – participating in those franchise leagues remain the topmost priority than representing the country.

The European nights cannot be just about 12 teams; rather it should be about the participation of everyone – Lyon taming Manchester City or AS Roma stunning Barcelona or Shakhtar Donetsk beating Real Madrid at their own backyard is what makes the Champions League nights thrilling and that is why we love football.

Just keep in mind, if a system remains unchecked and unquestioned, it starts to create its own rules and force others to follow them.

Football cannot bear the disaster and this need to be checked for the sake of the fans.

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If those 12 clubs really love the fans and respect their passion, they would not trigger the button of destruction.

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