Skip to main content

Long live the European Super League! ESL rest in peace!

Hey! My name is Claudiu Radu and for the past decade years or so, I've been working as an article writer and blogger, among other things.

Florentino Perez and Cristina Cifuentes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Florentino Perez and Cristina Cifuentes, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The European Super League

Understandably, there are people who don't really know what has taken place on the European football scene over the last few days.

The first news about the creation of the ESL have appeared on Sunday evening and since then, football fans, pundits and even FIFA and UEFA officials condemned the initiative of the "big boys" of European football to break away from Champions League and create their own competition that rewards..well..them.

Dubbed the "dirty dozen", the teams that proposed and joined this initiative from the start were (in alphabetic order): AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Internationale Milano, Juventus Torino, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham.

Invitations were sent to PSG (which had 14 days to join) from France and Bayern Munchen along with Borussia Dortmund from Germany (which had 30 days to join) to raise the number of the teams to fifteen. Already the "elitist" mindset was obvious as PSG were deemed unfit to receive 30 days of mulching over the prospect of joining the ESL.

The financial backing would have been provided by JP Morgan Chase & Co., and to throne over the competition and keep it away from corruption and negative influences, an "unbiased" group was selected: Florentino Pérez as Chairman (president of Real Madrid) along with vice-chairmen: Andrea Agnelli (chairman of Juventus), Joel Glazer (Co-chairman of Manchester United), John W. Henry (owner of Liverpool) and Stan Kroenke (owner of Arsenal).

Now, it is already clear at this point that Real, Juve and the British teams would have had the last word over all matters regarding the newly born competition which is probably why teams like Bayern and Borussia were hesitant to join the venture.

With the rich teams, I mean, super fifteen teams sorted, the good people that envisaged the Super League looked kindly upon the poorer souls that were not seen as elite clubs (although Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are anything but elite this season) and created a system by which the last five free places in the Super League were available for teams outside the ESL based on their performances in the previous season.

It goes without saying the fifteen "founding teams" were unable to relegate from the ESL, probably another feature to help create an exciting and fair competition.

It also has to be noted that the founding teams would have continued to play in their respective leagues (with an unfair financial advantage compared to all teams outside of the ESL, of course) as the Super League would had circumvented only the Champions League competition.

Money, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Money, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Prize money

The main purpose of this competition, of course, was to inject money into the already rich clubs and people that created this cesspool, in the first place.

So let's crunch the numbers folks.

The founding clubs would have received 3.5 billion euros so that's a nice signing bonus for them.

The much coveted revenues from participating in the league would have been shared in a proportion of 32.5% between the fifteen founding clubs with a further 32.5% being distributed among all twenty teams (including the five invited teams). That seems fair..uhm..heey!

Another 20 percent would be allocated based on performance and 15% would be shared based on broadcast audience size.

Clubs would be allowed to retain all revenues from gate receipts and club sponsorship deals.

Deflated, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Deflated, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Scroll to Continue


There were many people opposing the project as it was all too evident for everyone on the planet what purpose and direction this competition would have.

While I don't like or trust the current leaders of FIFA and UEFA, supporting a breakaway competition with the same flaws and disregard for all rules, as the established ones is pointless for me and wouldn't bring anything good to the sport.

For once, FIFA president Gianni Infantino was resolute, and declared "Concretely this means, either you are in, or you are out" regarding his view on this subject which created the first tremor on the mountaintop that is the Super League.

The reason behind the unease was obvious, the star-ridden teams like Real, Barca and City wouldn't have kept their stars if FIFA and UEFA had imposed international restrictions on players participating in the ESL. That meant no stars and nobody wants to see Barca's youth team battling Real's similar representative.

We stumble here to another obvious truth: these clubs are much more than the money they produce. The players, fans and history of these clubs have made them what they are today. That's why PSG, City and Chelsea aren't quite there yet as it takes a lot more than just funds and influence to create a super club.

Football pundits all around the world also helped shift the opinion of the public towards condemning the Super League. Luis Figo's tweet stating "This so called 'Superleague' is anything but 'Super'" along with Mesut Ozil's messages of distrust towards the newly born competition prompted a massive internet tidal wave of hate.

But the online hate wouldn't have made any difference as all internet "revolutions" have a herd mentality which makes all people state the same thing for the appreciation of the herd (regardless of personal opinion) which makes them vulnerable to outside influences or a quick shift in the herd's direction.

What made all the difference were the fans gathering on the streets of England which prompted the British government to jump in to help the angry supporters (sensing a quick gain in popularity) which resulted in the Premier League "big six" teams getting cold feet and jumping out of the ESL boat.

What we should all learn from this is that people still have the power to battle the "elite" because they produce the funds which the 1% are stacking away which gives them power to demand more rights.

FIFA WFC 06, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

FIFA WFC 06, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


You wouldn't believe it by checking social media but there actually were supporters of the European Super League, and I'm not talking about Florentino Pérez or Andrea Agnelli.

There were also journalists and that's the most dangerous thing, if you ask me, because they influence countless other people with an argument solely based on the practice of "clickbait".

Indeed, some journalists take the defense of the losing side of this feud just to create a stir, oblivious to the fact they, as journalists, influence how countless people perceive this world.

The pro ESL argument I've heard every other hour after the Super League started to crumble was "the ESL won't hurt football because it's more of the same".

Indeed, the UCL favors the "big boys" of Europe so another competition aggravating the aforementioned issue won't hurt modern football that much.

This is plain wrong, because the ESL would have widened even further the already big gap between "elite" teams and the rest. If right now you can see the big boys looking rather raggedy as financial problems hit them as well, with the emergence of the ESL they would have become untouchable while the "smaller clubs" would have remained in this precarious state.

The other critics stated that UEFA does nothing to prevent racism and corruption so they must fall but nowhere in the project proposed by the European Super League Company, S.L. I've read about fighting these plagues of football. The sole focus was on making more money so just supporting the ESL while assuming they would do a better job than UEFA would be the wrong direction to take.

I'll also add to this list the argument that made me wash my hands with the whole affair: "We only want to create the most beautiful competition on earth, capable of bringing significant benefits to the entire pyramid of football" stated Andrea Agnelli.

As an economist, my gag reflex was triggered immediately after hearing the "benefits to the entire pyramid of football" part of Agnelli's statement. The economical pyramid doesn't work people, whether we talk about football or economy in general, the funds don't go down towards the base of the pyramid they stay on top. Period.

History and present times have shown us the capitalist free market notion is bonkers and just like pyramids of Ancient Egypt which had the top of the pyramid covered in gold while the rest was bare stone, the economy has wealth locked at the top of the pyramid while the base starves of funds.

The final nail in the coffin of the ESL is another statement from Andrea Agnelli which also said "football is no longer a game, it's a business sector and what it needs most is stability" and as an economist I have to object again and say that football isn't a business sector it's a sport (Trump tried to treat America as a massive enterprise and look what happened) and secondly, in economics, the word stability usually means elimination of risks and in sport elimination of risks translates to BORING.

The ESL isn't dead people it's just badly beaten and it will rise again, make no mistake about that, and we will have to stop, yet again, the world of football from turning into a full-fledged business sector.

All of that aside, are you a supporter of the European Super League? Please, share your reasons with me, in the comment section below, as I'm dying to hear a solid reason why we should get behind this project.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Radu Claudiu


Radu Claudiu (author) from Romania on April 28, 2021:

I'm glad you liked it :D. The balance between performance and profit is a problem of our times, sadly, in many fields not just football. P.S. Thanks for spotting that typo, I always let one or two slip away lol.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on April 22, 2021:

"What we should all learn from this is that people still have the power to battle the "elite" because they produce the funds which the 1% are stacking away which gives them power to demand more rights." - Now, if we can translate this to a political understanding and get people out on the streets ... that would be nice. Haha!!

"As and economist my gag reflex was triggered immediately after hearing the "benefits to the entire pyramid of football" part of Agnelli's statement." - Ya, this "trickle-down-economics" was always a big lie. It doesn't work with football, or with a country's economy. (Just to let You know, You got a typo on that: "As and economist" - that "and" should probably be "an".)

"football isn't a business sector it's a sport" - It is to You and I but to the filthy rich who want more money, it is an investment which they expect to bring them a substantial return.

Greed is a big problem for the human mind. We have to deal with it, or it will continue to corrupt our world and as it becomes more and more corrupt, it begins to decay. Decay is not the path we want to be on, in my opinion.

Multumesc pentru articol - toate bune!

Related Articles