Football fans need to wake up to what is coming relentlessly down the track at us. I am talking about the so-called European Super League. The threat is very real and moving at a rapid pace. What is wrong with that some may ask? Allow me to try to enlighten you if you do not already know.
The biggest clubs in Europe are looking to increase their revenue and forming a European Super League would facilitate this and massively increase their turnover. Anybody who read Swiss Ramble’s excellent breakdown of Arsenal’s finances could see the huge disparity between the Champions League and the Europa League. The finances generated from the European Super League would dwarf what clubs make from the Champions League in the same way that Champions League revenue dwarfs the Europa League now. The big clubs desperately crave it the sooner the better.
They will probably be looking to create a new format changing from the present eight groups of four teams to four groups of eight teams playing 14 group matches with the top two from each group going into a last eight two legged knock out stage. This means 19 matches in total if a club makes it all the way to the Final as opposed to the present format, which is 13 matches. That means there is not enough room to fit the extra matches into the fixture schedule in its current form especially with FIFA attempting to squeeze more and more tournaments into the football calendar to raise revenue for their organisation as well.
Something has to give and the Premier League in its current form will be a casualty of this. The TV companies who will pay the astronomical sums for the rights to show the games will want to maximise their viewing audiences. They will want the European Super League to be played at weekends for peak viewing figures and the Premier League and all the other European Leagues will become midweek leagues. Just in the same way, the Champions League made the FA Cup and League Cup less relevant so the European Super League would devalue the Premier League. History does have a habit of repeating itself.
Furthermore, it will be imperative for the big clubs to be on that gravy train. In my opinion, they will not be too bothered about the way that they achieve it. Their aim will be to be a part of it at all costs by any means. If one of the big clubs does not qualify for it in the customary way on merit. The EUFA coefficients points system used for seeding teams may be used to choose who will be offered a place in the European Super League whereby points accumulated previously by being in the existing European competitions would be a way of deciding who gets into the League. Using this method, Arsenal for example would qualify as historically they regularly appear in the two existing European competitions. Of course, once the clubs are in the European Super League they cannot afford to drop out of it. Self-preservation will be the order of the day. The league would probably become like the NFL in America where there is no pyramid system with no relegation or promotion. That is if the club’s owners get their way. Not to mention the Broadcasters who will want the biggest clubs to be involved.
This could be the doomsday scenario for football if this restructuring happens and the whole landscape of top-level football will change. Our game that has evolved from its humble beginning being formed on the playing fields of public schools 150 years ago. Following that came the birth of professionalism with Football League and the 12 founder clubs made up from industrial towns in the midlands and the north. Arsenal then becoming the first professional club in the south breaking ranks with the amateur game to join the Football League before it eventually became 92 clubs and finally the emergence of the elite Premier League of 20 clubs that we have at present.
Traditional rivalries and the history and heritage of our great game that have been forged across three centuries will become less relevant. The Premier League will become the poor relation when the European Super League comes into being.
If all this happens as it could well do I for one, a fan since before England won the World Cup in 1966, will never step foot inside the Emirates Stadium again. The big six clubs have said they will not join under the current plans. However, none of them has ruled it out completely. This is a war the fans cannot afford to lose as everything we hold dear about the game we love is in grave peril. If we lose this war, we will lose everything.
Therefore, this is a warning to us all. A line in the sand must be drawn. Enough is enough. Football fans right across Europe must be ready and up for the fight. The likes of the Kroenke’s and all the other owners are already plotting for it. Don’t let their greed take the game away from us. Let’s get organised and challenge them in order to save the game we all love for our children and our grandchildren. All fans across the country need to get behind the banner of the Football Supporters Federation. They will be in the vanguard Make sure we are with them shoulder to shoulder every inch of the way. Winter is coming!