Two news stories have appeared today that have put the football rumour mill into overdrive with the prospect of a European, or indeed Global, Super League that would pit the world’s best football clubs against each other in a seasonal league.
Arsene Wenger was the first to inadvertently stoke the flames when he described such a concept as ‘inevitable’. Referencing the growing power of clubs, the billions in revenue the top sides could make, and the loosening grip of both UEFA and FIFA on proceedings, Wenger believes that a continental league is a ‘certainty’ in the near future.
Wenger believes that the ESL would force the Premier League and other domestic leagues across Europe into a midweek schedule, effectively dampening its aura and making the ESL the showpiece event.
“The big clubs will say: ‘if two smaller clubs are playing each other nobody wants to watch it. People want to watch quality. So we have to share the money but nobody is interested in you’. “A domestic league will certainly play Tuesday, Wednesday. I think that is the next step we will see.
“But if you have Real Madrid v Barcelona, or Real Madrid v Arsenal, or Manchester United v Bayern Munich every week the audiences will be good.”
Such a move would have a near disastrous effect on the Premier League. Take out both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal, all of which would be near certainties to receive an invite to join the ESL, who would want to watch the remaining 15 clubs? That is not to criticise or disregard the likes of Everton, Southampton, West Ham et al, but the appeal of the Premier League would take a huge dent if the larger clubs were to walk away. The Asian, US and African markets would switch their attention to the ESL overnight, whilst the clubs left to compete in the Premier League would take a huge financial hit.
It mightn’t be all doom and gloom, though. Once the financial aftershocks subside, English football could reduce to the great spectacle it once was pre 1992. It’d more competitive for a start; ask ten people to name the best side in the league outside the top 6, you’d probably get ten different answers. Perhaps we’d witness a new force rise up a la United of the 90s.
Moving to the second piece of news and it has been announced that the leading figures Europe’s top sides, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid have met to discuss what they have termed ‘Project Trophy’, a potential global knock-out competition that would feature 24 of the best sides from Europe, South America, the MLS, Asia and Africa.
Europe’s top clubs believe that billions could be made from such a tournament, and it does sound like a tantalising prospect. Imagine Manchester United Vs. Corinthians, LA Galaxy Vs. City, Barcelona taking on Boca Juniors.
Either way, it seems like we are nearing the point of no return for European football. There will come a point when the shackles will be unleashed and the European powerhouses will go it alone. Who can stop them?