Earlier on Sunday, 12 top European teams agreed to establish a new midweek competition that was intended to rival the Champions League, the so-called 'Super League'. However, it has been met with tremendous backlash from fans on social media, with several pundits also criticising the 12 clubs for their 'greed'. Amid the chaos, a number of footballers have also slammed the European Super League, stating that it's bound to cause havoc in the European game and beyond.
Over the weekend, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid announced their plans to form a breakaway league. The European Super League will mostly be a closed competition with 12 of the founding clubs, plus an expected other three, plus five clubs who will “earn” their way into the competition. However, there will be no real punishment for finishing in the bottom half as the 15 teams will be exempt from relegation.
The European Super League also illustrates the money issues that many believe continues to threaten soccer as a sport. For perspective, each founding member of this club is expected to take home $400 million for taking part in this league. That's roughly four times what a team would receive for winning the Champions League, currently the most prestigious tournament in world club football. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will be the inaugural chairman of the European Soccer League.
BREAKING NEWS:— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 19, 2021
UEFA officially exploring the option to ban clubs in #SuperLeague as soon as possible!
Legal consulting could also bring to ban Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City already from current Champions!
Exploring option to exclude players from Euro
Hence, in terms of sporting integrity, almost all of it will be lost. Super League teams will also not be able to purchase players from another Super League team, which is likely to see them overpower the remaining teams and leagues across Europe. There's also the issue of team selection as teams appear to have been chosen based on fanbase as opposed to performance. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal, currently in seventh and ninth place respectively in the English Premier League, are two of the teams selected, despite smaller clubs like Leicester City and West Ham having outperformed them this year.
On Monday, UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin also confirmed that the players that will play in the Super League will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros. They will not be allowed to play for their national teams as well. This will potentially see players in Super League teams unable to represent their country during international games.
Fenerbache midfielder Mesut Ozil played for Arsenal, one of the ‘founding members’ of the new tournament, between 2013-2021. However, the 32-year-old World Cup winner has claimed that the ESL plans are “really hard to understand”. The German took to Twitter and wrote, "Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League — not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there.”
Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League - not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there...⚽💔— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 19, 2021
PSG midfielder Ander Herrera, who played for Man United in the past, also had a powerful message for those who have planned to the breakaway league. The likes of Yannick Bolasie, Dejan Lovren, Bruno Fernandes and Lukas Podolski also issued statements opposing the plans
Football will be in the near future on a brink of complete collapse. Nobody is thinking about the bigger picture, only the financial side.— Dejan Lovren (@Dejan06Lovren) April 19, 2021
I still believe we can solve this unpleasant situation.