The European Super League. It has been talked about for a long time, but will it ever actually happen? Writing in September 2012 and looking ahead, in two years time a European Super League could be on the agenda.
This is because in 2014 the agreement that is in place between FIFA, UEFA and Europe’s leading clubs expires. As the leader of the European Club Association, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge points out, said teams will be free to do what they want. However, would they actually look to create a super league?
Having freshly put pen to paper on a £3bn television rights deal from 2013, it would be in the interests of clubs in England to stick around for a little while longer. And, no offence to Manchester United supporters, but the Reds do not perform especially well against Barcelona when playing the Spanish giants once every two or three years. Make this fixture a twice a season occurrence, and it could get worse.
Abroad feeling is different. Over in Spain’s La Liga, Barcelona and Real Madrid are in favour of the idea of Europe’s leading sides playing each other week in and week out. This is mainly due to the fact that, realistically, neither team has any rivals for the league title other than each other, largely due to the pair earning 70% of the division’s TV rights between them. That, however, is a story for another day.
In Germany, Bayern Munich (coincidently also led by Rummenigge) are extremely vocal in their support for a European Super League, saying: “the fact we have always been so close to the authorities and are vocal shows where we are”.
However, the problems with a European Super League stretch beyond ruining the league set-up of each individual country. The concept could spell the end for international football, as clubs, rather than FIFA, would be able to decide whether to release players for international games.
In addition to this, for the league to last for a full season, it would not be populated exclusively with Europe’s best. This means the dreaded spectre of dismal Cypriot outfits also taking part.
For these reasons, despite the uncovered economic treasure trove, a super league would not be a positive step for European football.
Whether or not it will take place is another matter. Personally I do not believe that it will come to pass, as I am not convinced that all 197 clubs in the ECA will subscribe to the plans. I also feel that FIFA will not allow it to develop and will instead offer a new Champions League set up to the ECA along with slightly more power. Nevertheless, this raging debate will not be extinguished or hushed any time soon.
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