New European Super League and its controversy

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Photo Credit: Photo made by Katherine Albuquerque

Fans all over the world felt betrayed by their favorite clubs due to the Super League. Many saw the creation of the ESL as a money making opportunity rather than for the enjoyment of fans.

By: Katherine Albuquerque, Editor

Soccer is  a sport that’s appreciated globally. It generates billions of dollars annually. Young and old soccer enthusiasts were shocked when hearing about the newly founded ESL (European Super League).

Overview

Twelve top European soccer clubs created The ESL . They wanted to break away from the Champions League competition. For a long time, clubs have been complaining about the governing body of the Champions League, UEFA (Union of the European Football Associations) and demanded reforms.

The economic strength of these clubs can make them ‘elite’.  Six Premier League teams joined this league– Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham. 

The ‘big six’ joined six other wealthy and famous clubs. The British Teams partnered with AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid. 

Backlash

FIFA (The International Federation of Association Football) quickly joined UEFA in expressing strong disapproval for this new super league.

World leaders, players and fans of the sport were certainly not cheering for this new league either. Countless public figures from around the world began shaming and condemning the creation of this league. They noted how unfair it would be for the clubs with less economic stability. Poorer clubs would never have the opportunity to join despite their soccer skills. 

Prior to the ESL

The original system for most European soccer competitions has been a pyramid system. This meritocratic system has developed for over 140 years. Essentially, while popular clubs usually stay at the top of the ‘pyramid,’ small clubs still have the chance to work their way up there. This is because the pyramid system focuses on skill rather than net worth- the ESL is the opposite.

This emphasis on skill is what many fans love about soccer. The focus of the sport is about community and fans’ enjoyment rather than trying to make a lot of money (big soccer teams however still make a lot from playing). So, it wasn’t a surprise when fans started protesting in several cities across Europe, even in Los Angeles and Beijing, about their disappointment towards the ESL.

Currently

Due to the fans’ protests and extreme backlash, all six English teams, Atletico Madrid, and Inter Milan have repealed their decisions in joining the Super League. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, and AC Milan have not formally left the league. The ESL is now on hold until further notice. 

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin put out a statement saying all 12 clubs will face consequences due to their initial joining of the ESL. UEFA has not yet specified the punishments these clubs will face; however, Ceferin noted that punishments will vary depending on how quickly the teams pulled out of the ESL.

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