Blue Mondays: The Announcement of The European Super League

The sudden emergence of Europe’s latest ‘elite’ competition could destroy the beautiful game that we all know and love.

The birth of 'The Super League':

On April 18th 2021, the footballing world changed forever.

The European Super League is an esoteric competition system that is intended to consist of only the world’s most ‘elite’ teams. The idea is the brainchild of some of football’s wealthiest men, and is currently being led Florentino Pérez – the President of Real Madrid.

First proposed in 2009, the suggestion from Pérez was simply seen as another money-centered idea, having already been behind the infamous ‘Galácticos’ era of Real Madrid. In the construction of the league, Pérez is joined by Joel Glazer (Manchester United), John W. Henry (Liverpool), Andrea Agnelli (Juventus), Daniel Levy (Tottenham Hotspur) and Stan Kroenke (Arsenal).

The ‘agreed’ plan:

The concept is not difficult to grasp. There are 12 ‘founding members’, which includes 6 English clubs, (Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur), with an additional 3 teams from both Italy (Juventus, AC Milan, Internazionale), and Spain (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid).

A further 5 teams would then qualify based on the previous season’s merit, however, the validity of this is still under scrutiny with the process yet to be fully revealed.

The teams involved would play each other in a pool and knock-out format, much like the World Cup qualifiers. There will be 2 pools of 10 teams each, with the top 3 of each pool automatically qualifying for the quarter finals. The teams finishing in 4th and 5th place would then compete in two-legged play-offs games for the remaining quarter-final spots.

From there, it follows the two-legged knockout system followed by a single match final. Both home and away fixtures will be played in the league stage, taking up the space usually occupied by the UEFA competitions. The competition is expected to run from August to May, with the fixtures set to be played mid-week.

The money involved: The involved clubs are set to financially gain huge amounts of money from being founding members of the competition. An estimated of €3.5 billion has been said to be the initial pay-out for each club, in order to aid with COVID-19 relief. Solidarity payments for each team are expected to exceed €10 billion over the first few years, without the inclusion of prize money and estimated generated revenue.

The backlash: Established football organizations like FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League have all expressed their disdain, with all 3 suggesting bans and sanctions to be imposed on the founding members.

According to FIFA and UEFA, competing teams and players will not be allowed to take part in the Euros, Champions League, and World Cup. As for the Premier League, the founding members are set to be excluded following the start of the new Super League tournament, and should they want to return to English competition, they would have to play their way up the divisions from the National League.

As of this morning, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all withdrawn from the ECA, which means they are no longer allowed to participate in UEFA competitions. With the added ban on teams set to participate in the Super League from UEFA themselves, it is uncertain what may happen seeing as 3 of the 4 Champions League semi-finalists this year (Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City) are set to compete in the Super League.

There has been further backlash from both other clubs and fans alike. European giants Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund have declined their invitations to be founding members. Other members of the footballing world including figureheads like Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville have spoken out about the real injustices to the sport and they must be agreed with.

Personal reflections:

To put it in to context, Arsenal, who drew 1-1 on Sunday afternoon against relegation favorites Fulham have found themselves in an ‘elite European competition’ which is supposed to be on par with the prestigious Champions League. The competition is very obviously based on maximizing profits in terms of revenue and milking the identity of the club for monetary gain. With examples of Bury and Wigan, horrible mismanagement has previously cost football clubs their existence. With it now being on such a wide scale, in some of the world’s best teams and real cathedrals of football such as Barcelona and Real Madrid the average fan is, quite obviously, no longer being considered in the name of profits.

Fans will be expected to pay a bumper price to see their team play against the same 14 opponents year on year, with no real suspense, consequence or excitement to a new season.

The incredible stories of Leicester in the 2015/2016 Premier League season, Porto in the 2003/2004 Champions League, or even Chelsea’s very own 2011/2012 Champions League triumph no longer mean anything, as those competitions have been negated in terms of value as a result of the Super League.

The next generation’s very best players will naturally be drawn to the Super League because of the major contracts on offer, meaning historical competitions like the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and the Champions League, will have their quality and general aura a stripped away from them.

It may also affect international football, should UEFA and FIFA decide to enforce their bans.

The idea of a Super League also kills dreams for smaller teams, who now know that without the same financial muscle as some of football’s fat cats, they will never be able to compete for the Super League, which is exactly the kind of thing football is built against.

The point of the sport is for the best teams to fairly (as far as is possible) compete in the best competitions based on their skillset alone, but the Super League throws that away by offering the elite an easy in and guaranteed revenue. Driven by monetary gain alone this competition should not exist at all and is a direct violation of what football stands for.


Written by Yendi (@ftblYendi).

Edited by Ryan Bellenie (@BellenieSport).

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