For years now, the concept of another breakaway football league in Europe has been floating in the background but on Sunday, every football fans’ nightmare came alive as the European Super League was announced by its 12 founding clubs.
In a move that has attracted a flurry of furore within the first 24 hours of the announcement, let’s understand what this European Super League is all about and why it is hailed as the biggest evil in football that could possibly destroy the essence of the sport loved globally.
There are 12 founding members of the European Super League. The traditional big six from England – Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. The three big clubs from Spain – FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. And they are joined by three clubs representing Italy – Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
HOW DOES THE FORMAT WORK?
The 12 founding clubs have already announced their intention of joining the European Super League on Sunday and there would be three more clubs that will follow soon. The 15 clubs would be permanent members in the league and the remaining five spots will be decided by a qualifying mechanism based on the previous season’s performance.
The 20 teams would be split into two groups of 10, with each team playing home and away matches in midweek. At the end of that group phase, the top three from each would qualify for the quarter-finals, with the final two spots earned after a play-off between the sides finishing fourth and fifth in the groups.
From the quarters onwards, there would be two-legged knock-out ties home and away, similar to the current knockout stages of the Champions League, with a single-fixture final at a neutral venue.
The European Super League would not replace the Premier League or other domestic league competitions. Matches would be held in midweek across the season. The competition is intended to run from August until May.
Under current proposals, there would be no relegation from the league. For the clubs who qualify for the European Super League through their domestic league performance, there would be no guarantee that they would be able to take part the following season.
The Premier League and UEFA took no time to condemn the league. UEFA went on to confirm that any player taking part in the European Super League would be banned from participating in the World Cup and European Championship.
There has been a wide backlash amongst the wider football community as it stands against the essence of the sport which all of us fell in love with. It is a league for the richer clubs to get richer and it’s a closed shop as there won’t be any relegation or promotion. The end position in their domestic leagues makes no difference any more as these 15 clubs will automatically feature in the European Super League every year.
The league would destroy the premise of open competition and that is not what football stands for. Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville was absolutely flabbergasted with this announcement and he has demanded that the six Premier League clubs involved should have sanctions against them immediately and should be docked points.
The timing of the announcement has been questioned as well. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic and clubs in the lower leagues are going bankrupt with no fans in the stadiums. Players are getting furloughed and here we have the rich owners of these massive European clubs taking a decision based on greed and self-interest.
Fans from all across the globe have been extremely vocal about their displeasure regarding this announcement and we’ve seen banners put up outside some major clubs voicing their disappointment.
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