Football In A Flux

Illustration by Adoracia Nongkhlaw

“Football Is Nothing Without Fans.” – Sir Matt Busby

When Florentino Perez and the heads of eleven other football clubs announced on the 17th of April, 2021, the creation of a break away football league, all hell broke loose.

UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, was forceful and angry. He strongly suggested to the owners and heads of “some English clubs” to rescind their membership to the new competition.

“Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake,” the President commented at the annual UEFA meeting.

“I cannot stress more strongly at this moment that UEFA and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful, self-serving proposals we have seen from a select few clubs in Europe that are fuelled by greed above all else.”

Ceferin indicated the unity against the Super League. “Not only is the football world united. Society is united. Governments are united. We are all united against this nonsense of a project. We have the English FA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A, but also FIFA, all our 55 national associations, unanimous in our opposition to these cynical plans that are completely against what football should be.”

Threats were made to prevent Super League teams and players from participating in the Champions League (including Tottenham and Arsenal who look far from qualifying in the first place) and representing their respective national teams. Ceferin stated, “we’re still assessing with our legal team but we will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon we can. My opinion is that as soon as possible they have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions.”

Rivalries were forgotten, players and fans worked as one to put an end to this abomination. Former players joined in on the conversation to voice their thoughts against the ESL.

Ex-Manchester United defender, Gary Neville, ranted on about the greed of the club owners. “I’m a Manchester United fan and I have been for 40 years of my life but I’m absolutely disgusted. I’m disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool most. Liverpool, they pretend ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, the people’s club, the fans’ club. Manchester United, 100 years borne out of workers round here, and they’re breaking away into a league without competition, that they can’t be relegated from? It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Luke Shaw, Manchester United left-back, an instrumental figure in the team’s dressing room, released a statement rejecting the Super League. He said, “There is so much passion around the world for football and I have been privileged to experience that first-hand, however I worry that these changes could impact the sport that I and millions of others love.”

Managers have also joined in on the conversation. Pep Guardiola, manager of Premier League club Manchester City had this to say, “It’s not a sport when the relation between effort and reward doesn’t exist. It’s not a sport if success is already guaranteed. It’s not a sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose. It’s not fair when one team fights, fights, fights, arrives at the top and after cannot qualify because the success is already guaranteed just for a few clubs. People say five clubs can go up and play this competition, but what happens if these 15 don’t play a good season and will be there. This is not a sport.”

The ESL was an attempt by Perez and mainly American owners of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool to introduce an American-like and franchise-centred model. Record losses that the pandemic brought about accelarated the need for an enity.

While I am of the opinion that football needs an extensive overhaul, and different and evolved versions of the European Super League will appear and be delibearted on in the coming years, what took place on Sunday has been an embarsaament.

Before the plan ultimately imploded, 12 teams joined as members. Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City from England. La Liga’s Top 3 Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid and Italian giants AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus. These teams would neither be relegated nor need to qualify for the competition. The founding members would enjoy special status in the league. The format would include a league consisting of 20 teams, which would include the 15 founding members and 5 teams who would qualify annually.

 

Author: Neil Wallang

Neil Wallang is a staff writer. He has a Masters in English from Delhi University. An avid Manchester United fan, he loves technology, cars, and books.

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