There has been talk of the formation of a European Super League between the biggest football clubs in Europe. It’s been met by the usual backlash from those believing it will kill football in Europe, but it could make the quality of football better, as well as improve competition, not just in the Super League, but also in domestic leagues.
It must be remembered that football and all sports are a business. The owners have one goal in mind: to make as much money as humanly possible.
In a report compiled by Forbes in July 2018, of the 50 richest sports teams in the world, only seven were from the world of football. The rest were spread between the NFL, NBA, and MLB.
Given how new school owners pour money into their teams to make them the best in the Europe, a European Super League could place more football teams into Forbes’ top 50 list. This could help the domestic game in all European countries and follow the format of the MLS, which has discussed the inclusion of the Mexican and Canadian leagues after the 2026 World Cup.
Richer teams could help drive competition within the European Super League as each owner will want their club to have the best players. This could lead to a greater number of high profile transfers. There’s always been big transfers: Luis Figo moved from Barcelona to Real Madrid; Cristiano Ronaldo switched to Juventus from Real Madrid; Neymar went from Barcelona to PSG.
It could also help the development of younger players, who could benefit from playing in the domestic leagues for a few more years before graduating into the European Super League.
In America, players must first show they are worthy and prove themselves against similar aged sportsmen before they’re drafted into the major leagues. If European football followed a similar format, the level of competition may become equal, providing much more excitement and closer games.
Over the last few years, it’s been commented how the Champions League doesn’t really start until after the group stages due to the gulf in class. A prime example of this happened earlier this season when Man City were 6-0 winners over Shakhtar Donetsk on the same night Real Madrid scored five against Viktoria Plzen.
For a number of years, I’ve thought the English FA could learn from the American system to help grow the English game. It would give them a chance to breed new talent within the lower leagues before the players were picked up by the big clubs to enhance their talents. This gradual or rapid, depending on the skill level of the talent, rise up the ladder might help the England national team reach the pinnacle of world football. The talk of a European Super League is the perfect chance for reform.
Major reform of the English game is needed for the country to become a major force in the footballing world. By releasing teams to join the European Super League, the English game would lose Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal.
In England’s starting XI in the World Cup Semi-Final against Croatia, six of the players were from those clubs. At the end of 120 minutes, only two players in the England XI came from those clubs. The big teams could be blamed for the stagnation of the England national team in the 2000’s. Everyone remembers the dilemma each manager faced of whether to play Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, or both. England’s “golden generation” achieved nothing.
The popularity of the Premier League is not due to it being in England. It’s due to the money and the players that can be attracted. The majority of revenue would shift to the European Super League. It would become the most popular league in the world simply because of the money, the names, and the players.
Revenue may drop, but people will still want to watch compelling football. Imagine the impact the European Super League would have on competition in Germany, Spain, and Italy, where the domestic league is dominated by one or two clubs. Juventus have won the last seven league titles in Italy; Bayern Munich have won the last six German titles; and, Barcelona and Real Madrid have won 15 of the 18 championships since the turn of the century.
Removing the most successful teams in Premier League history would also allow fans of teams who have generally be seen as small clubs to see their team enjoy success. The majority of football fans celebrated when Leicester won the Premier League in 2016. This one-off phenomenon could become the norm.
The European Super League could help reform football for the good, so before people completely go against the idea, they need to look at the bigger picture of business and how the money and richer clubs could help the global game, as well as bring joy to fans who may never have the chance to see their team lift a domestic title.