Published in Solidarity 589, 21 April 2021.
Europe’s richest football clubs have announced an exclusive Super League, but have met with near-unanimous opposition.
This is a move by Europe’s richest clubs, not its best clubs. One of England’s ‘Big Six’ founding this Super League – Tottenham Hotspur – has not won the domestic league title for sixty years! Of the three clubs involved from Italy’s Serie A, one (AC Milan) has not qualified for the Champions League for the past eight seasons.
These clubs would be the only members of this ‘Super-League’. With no promotion into or relegation out of it, they would not have to play to a decent standard to retain their places, and other clubs could not gain entry no matter how good they got.
TV pundit and former Manchester United and England player Gary Neville has rightly condemned “The timing of it, the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of an economic crisis, not just in football but in this world, to demonstrate greed rather than compassion is an absolute shocker.”
This move is the latest step in a decades-long process of big-money takeover of football. A working-class game followed by many millions of people is now owned by big business and oligarchs who prioritise money over fans. Ticket prices have risen exponentially and matches are scheduled to suit TV schedules rather than supporters.
Europe-wide football tournaments are great. They facilitate national and cultural mixing on the pitch and amongst fans, and provide amazing displays of quality football. Europe already has several football tournaments: it does not need a separate, sealed-off, elitist venture.
There is good reason to hope that the level of opposition will stop this happening, but unless that opposition is led by fans, we may well up with a different version of the same thing. Football fans: unite!