Monday April 19 2021
Super League is just a bargaining ploy

What if the Super League announcement was just a cynical bargaining tool for the big clubs to get the Champions League terms they want from UEFA? Susy Campanale sees this as one giant gamble.

My spidey sense is tingling. The 12 biggest clubs announce they are forming a breakaway Super League just hours before UEFA are set to ratify a new format for the Champions League, one with a suspiciously similar fixture structure, but with significantly less financial remuneration for these giants. Amid all the predictable outrage, we’re missing something. This is a full-on all or nothing gamble from the clubs to get the Champions League they want from UEFA.

Look at the statement from Juventus. They are floated on the stock exchange, which in Italy has some very strict rules about what can and can’t be announced. “While the founding clubs will use their best efforts to implement the project within the shortest possible timeframe, at the moment the Company cannot assure that the project will be eventually successfully launched or predict the exact timing of the project.”

Read the letter than the 12 clubs sent to UEFA, and match it with the FIFA statement calling for “calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game.” The letter does outline various legal threats to counter the ones from UEFA, but tellingly asks European football’s governing body for “urgent” talks to find a common way forward.

Cast your eye over the format for the Super League, and you’ll realise it is basically identical to the Champions League system that UEFA were set to ratify this week. It’s groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-final, then play-offs for those in fourth and fifth.

There’s only one substantial difference here and that is that 12-15 big clubs are guaranteed qualification even if they have a shocker domestically. Plus, and it’s a big plus, those 12-15 would govern the league, able to carve out the money between them without the risk of missing out because they are, oh I dunno, quite bad at playing football compared to someone with a pittance of the budget. Sorry, Atalanta, your results-driven and profit-generating style isn’t welcome here.

We’ve seen it play out for years now, qualifying for the Champions League is infinitely more important than staying in it. As for the Europa League, until they gave a spot in the major tournament for victory, it was considered more of an inconvenience than a trophy to be won.

One wonders why Milan bothered working so hard this season to finish in the top four of Serie A if they’re just going to head straight into their very own Super League. It’s like renting a flat for a year when you’ve got a mortgage lined up. That is one of the things that has my spidey sense tingling. Something’s not right here.

Credit to them if this really is a balls on the table bargaining ploy to get more money and control from UEFA, because these clubs are risking absolutely everything to get a bigger slice of an already frankly unfairly divided pie. It could backfire spectacularly, especially with the angry response it has generated from fans.

I’m going to make a prediction here. The Super League will never see the light of day and it was not particularly intended to. Have you seen their website? It’s rubbish. No way did 12 giant clubs obsessed with image and revamping their logos sign off on that and think it’d be a selling point. This is a desperate ploy to force UEFA into giving in to their demands on the Champions League.

It’s ugly, tacky, classless, unsporting and everyone will hate them for it, but it will probably work and we’ll see them flock back for a hybrid Champions Super League, shoving everyone else into the Europa League and whatever pointless endeavour they are now calling the Conference League. I mean, Conference League, even the name sounds like it’ll be sponsored by a local double-glazing company. That will get combined with the Europa League, the big boys can play happily in their gated community with a few invitees and everyone else will just have to put up with it. At least it’ll stop people moaning about VAR for a while.

Have your say...
> be in DEC. ? cmon, then 2026 they wanna expand it to 48 teams ?! cmon it used to be about the worlds best playing. its all about the money... they FIFA UEFA have made so much since 1990 but it wasnt enough. now football has become a money hungry joke of itself.after the last awful WC with Italy and so many other great nations it lost appeal.was looking foward to EU20 but covid killed that now it looks to be kinda lame since attendance will be low. again its odd how $$ destroyed football
on the 20th April, 2021 at 9:31pm
> and the CL was this great yearly tourney with the best clubs and players playing for the love of the game, and the club...not the money. here in the states we watched the sport grow so much and how these games were shown on tv here very little, then more every year. now CL is only shown on streaming and must be paid for when it was free. so i dont even watch it anymore,and now its being revamped as a tool against ESL but really its for more money. just as ESL is a money grab.2022WC is gonna >
on the 20th April, 2021 at 9:14pm
well just my 2 cents but this is sign of the end of football as it is... i mean to me its been on decline last 4-5 years as its rotten to the core with greed, and oversaturation. its become stale and boring. anyone remember the world cups and world soccer from 1990s-2010 it was amazing. the stars, the passion, traditions, pride etc. its all gone as far as im concerned. when the world cup was year and a half away you already couldnt wait and watching your nation or team qualify was tense relief >
on the 20th April, 2021 at 9:00pm
I think you've called it right as clubs are already dropping out left, right and centre.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 6:42pm
3) Cont..

I think it’s within their rights to organize separate competition. Think of it like exhibition/friendly matches, re-packaged as league games.

If my club is not in financial difficulty, I’d much prefer for them to still compete in UCL, which has more prestige, and historical values.

As football fan in general, I wouldn’t say no to more big matches, assuming that top players might provide better quality football for the viewers. But this is of course my subjective opinion.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 6:09pm
2) Cont..

3rd, the ESL clubs agreed to give more solidarity payments (in numbers) to the smaller leagues/teams

4th, this ESL is merely a self-created unofficial competition, organized by only several clubs. If this concept is brought by UEFA, then obviously it's not fair for smaller teams like Atalanta, Leicester, Sevilla, etc

5th, In a way, it’s their own loss if those 12 clubs disqualify themselves for UCL, as it is the official European competition recognized by UEFA & FIFA.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 6:08pm
I think we all have read countless negative points about the super league, and I do agree with most of them. However, I just want to try to look at this in different perspective.

1st, the ESL is not to be compared with domestic league, rather it provides alternative to UCL.

2nd, the UCL is still there. Those 12 clubs choose not to join and without them, there will be more chances for the smaller teams to qualify for UCL & Europa League. That might bring more income for the smaller clubs.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 6:08pm
So true, couldn't agree with you more. When I first read this news I knew instantly this was a bargaining ploy. This super League has been in discussion and if my memory serves me correctly, there were "serious" discussions about this in the 90s
on the 20th April, 2021 at 3:50pm
I agree with Maldini's Heir. To add to this, for Juventus, if they had kept Spinazzola and Immobile from their youth teams they wouldn't spend so much on bad foreign players and failed as they have. UEFA and FIFA are not perfect but they do best they can, I can't believe some people support the super league - who do you want to control everything, the corrupt Agneli or Florentin Perez?? Then there will be no more success stories like Atalanta, Sassuolo, Leicester, Valencia, etc.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 3:42pm
Look at this financially. Why do clubs have to stay in CL and get paid less? What is wrong in getting more revenue? Who is paying the bills at the end of the day? Did any Serie A clubs take on those debt of Parma or Florentina when they go under? Why should the club not look after their own financial safety?
on the 20th April, 2021 at 3:22pm
LOL The Super League will happen with or without UEFA. You point on the website and Milan are laughable sorry mate
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:52pm
Ironic how the rich clubs say they need this format to grow the game and ensure club/sport survival...seems the clubs survived well enough without a Super League. The closed system works well in North America to a point (I do think some leagues have too many teams leading to talent dilution and meaningless games). The current UEFA and Europa leagues may not be ideal, but at least there's the inherent factor that yearly qualification is necessary. This self free pass is a joke. I hope they fail.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:09pm
Juventus, Inter and Milan fans need to start a boycott. Stop fans entering the staduium and stream games for free.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:28pm
One more point to say: stop treating UEFA and FIFA kindly. They are the worst. If they really are the good side, why don't they make rule about salary cap in European competitions? That's the only way to make football clubs equal to each other. But they don't do it because they don't care football that much. Period.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:25pm
The Great Football Schism - Year 0

Let the 12(+n) teams form their own NBA style EUROLEAGUE and kick them from their own national league and Champions League. Let ALL players represent their NT with no hurdles whatsoever as it is their duty as citizen anyway. So we will have 2 running leagues/competition at the same time and let the time be the great equalizer and see which model crumbles first.

Fair enough?
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:22pm
Mark my word: YOU WILL SPEND YOUR MONEY TO WATCH YOUR FAV TEAM PLAY IN SUPER LEAGUE. Your bluff such as "my team should be banned, my team should do this or should do that" Booo! Soo unrealistic opinion. Football is a dangerous dope. We are the junkies.. Old junkies. We're going to die and to be replaced by the new model of fans from this new generation. so our opinions don't matter to them. Big clubs are going to die next season if they don't get more revenue, so cut it out, old junkies.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:19pm
The new Champions League format is ridiculous. They've made it into the Super League just with the tiniest amount of merit. Adding additional games to an already congested fixture list and entirely new league is just beyond ridiculous. If the Super League format does go ahead UEFA need to go back to basics. Champions League is just for champions, UEFA Cup for the next best 3-4 and bring back the Cup Winners Cup! When football made sense.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:07pm
@ Gee If the owners want to make money then there are plenty of ways to do so. You only get to own a football club when you're already rich. It's a trophy. A toy. A vehicle to launder cash and avoid tax and put your money in a safe jurisdiction before some dictator takes it off you or the people in your home country rise up. This isn't about money. It's about egos.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:05pm
Do the people commenting on this thread not understand what the owners of these clubs have said?

The owners have said that the main objective is to increase revenue, the fans and the good of the sports is secondary....... meaning they do not matter.

How difficult is it to understand this.
The cost of ticket prices will increase and the subscription prices will increase. The prices will increase and the salary of players will also increase.

The rich get richer
on the 20th April, 2021 at 11:29am
This is Americanization of sports. Changing soccer to franchises like the NBA, NFL, MLB. It will lack thrill and it will lack excitement. There will be fans, but fans who are never passionate enough. It is like WWE, or a reality TV show. The clubs will survive financially but football is gonna die as a sport. What would save the clubs is lowering their footballers insane salaries and transfer fees. This will balance their budgets not changing it to sports entertainment.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 10:19am
... bcs I think that they cannot be worse or more corrupt then the now governing bodies in football.
Uefa has for far too long behaved like they own football without listening to the clubs and to the fans and its only logical that those in charge of the big clubs have decided to take steps to get some of the power back.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 7:44am
The corrupt mafia at Uefa nad Fifa had it coming. If they were not busy counting black money and defending against lawsuits they might have even noticed something is happening and that changes must be made.
Even how Ceferin now threatens to exclude players and teams is totaly illegal. Is there no board at Uefa that decides or is this a 1 man show?
That said I am of course concerned how everything develops but i will give the actual protagonists of football the benefit of the doubt....
on the 20th April, 2021 at 7:42am
I'm a Ac MIlan fan since 1987 when I was 7 years old.

Ban ACM and the other traitors to our sport for years to come. Ban their players to compete in other UEFA /FIFA competition.
Also just for making this proposal.

It would actually be an interesting Champions League next year, without Barca, Real M, Juve, AC MIlan, Liverpool, Man C and U and the remaining 12 traitors.

This is an anti-football pyramid scheme
on the 20th April, 2021 at 6:36am
can a stagnant competition whose entry is not based on any kind of merit actually last? Do you really think fans want to watch Milan v Barca every week, forever? And when this model fails, what happens then? Milan will be gone too. I wish this was about money. At least you could rationalise it.
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:20am
misadventure is also hopelessly misconceived. How does turning Milan into the whipping boys of some super league where they’re massively outgunned going to help? Do you think a rebranding exercise can gloss over 5:0 defeats to Barca and Real Madrid each week? The reason it’s important to EARN your place at the top table is so you don’t get embarrassed when you get there. As a fan am I supposed to both accept the fact that my team cheated AND watch them get hammered as well? And how long can
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:17am
in every position in the squad multiple times. Milan would probably be in a better position today had we not signed a single new player in the past 7 years and just kept the core of the squad that helped us qualify for the champions league last time. But instead busy owners, directors and agents were chopping and changing endlessly. Hiring and firing managers, paying compensation to multiple managers at once, making losses on endless players, and giving away youth assets for free. This next
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:12am
@ Anonymous It’s first and foremost about the integrity of the sport. Football is a sport after all. The Super League idea is a lazy, short term and misguided way of getting the clubs out of a financial mess of their own making. In the case of Milan millions spent on completely pointless signings. Think of the money wasted on a player like Tonali when there are not one, but two, ex-youth team players in that position playing for the national team: Cristante and Locatelli. And that is played out
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:08am
@ Anonymous It’s first and foremost about the integrity of the sport. Football is a sport after all. The Super League idea is a lazy, short term and misguided way of getting the clubs out of a financial mess of their own making. In the case of Milan millions spent on completely pointless signings. Think of the money wasted on a player like Tonali when there are not one, but two, ex-youth team players in that position playing for the national team: Cristante and Locatelli. And that is played out
on the 20th April, 2021 at 2:07am
Basically the bigger teams are fed up of FIFA and UEFA for using their players to enrich themselves while using their players with no liability for years, while never splitting the gate and TV pool properly with them, grudgingly I see their side to this as I believe they at the very least want to rewrite the deals to all these competitions, honestly put yourself in their shoes and see where they are coming from, as FIFA and UEFA are probably the 2 most corrupted entities in sports!
on the 20th April, 2021 at 1:31am
Players will still play in the World Cup... (which will still be a big thing)

UEFA needs to think this through. Especially if serie A, La Liga and Premier league threaten to drop the teams out of league play... they will play into the super leagues hand; because by banning the big name players, you will devalue your own competition... giving the super league presidents more leverage.

Just my opinion though
on the 20th April, 2021 at 12:24am

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