What is the European Super League in football, and why has Boris Johnson declared potential legislation to stop it?
What was the structure before?
Football teams play in the league of their nation. For example, Manchester City plays in the top division, which is the Premier League.
Different countries have various leagues, which previously only came together to play in the UEFA Champions League or Europa League.
The top teams, in each nation’s top division, could qualify for the Champions League.
The teams that finish highly, but not at the top, could qualify for the Europa League.
But now here comes the European Super League…
What is new?
On Sunday 18th April, there came the announcement of an upcoming new “Super League“.
The European Super League is made by the “Founding Clubs“. These include Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham from the Premier League.
Athletico Madrid, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus are also in the league as “Founding Clubs”.
There are three more clubs to be announced.
There will be five annual qualifying teams for the Super League – but it is not clear how this will be decided.
In this tournament, there is no criteria for the above teams to qualify. It is self-regulated by the “Founding Clubs”.
This means that the 15 main teams will always have a spot and 5 other teams will somehow qualify.
Why another tournament?
Some say that the top teams want the stability of a competing in a tournament, like the Champions League, every year.
As it stands, if a team doesn’t win the Premier League, there isn’t certainty that they will get to compete in the Champions League.
A bigger issue is that it’s been suggested the top teams want this new tournament for the TV revenue and all other monetary profits, rather than the simple joy of partaking.
Why is this controversial?
Fans are against these randomly picked, set in stone teams with not much room for other clubs to join the tournament.
Clubs such as Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid have not won the Champions League in their history as clubs, and yet have been picked for this seemingly superior “Super League”.
Not to mention, there has been up to £5bn financed by Morgan Chase from American Bank JP Morgan.
It’s desired that the Super League clubs will still play in their regular leagues also.
There has also been lots of pointers to this being all about money.
If a team win the Champions League, they win roughly 40-80m.
If a team simply play in this new Super League, they receive roughly 250-300m.
Super League vs Champions League?
The Super League announcement came a day before UEFA were going to discuss the changes to the Champions League for 2024.
It is believed these changes were an attempt to create more matches, for the clubs making the Super League.
There would be 36 teams in the Champions League, which means 225 matches rather than 125.
UEFA announced earlier this week:
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
This means that any player participating in the proposed Super League would be unable to play in domestic or European leagues such as the Premier and Champions League, and also would not be eligible to represent their country in other sporting events such as the Euros or World Cup.
However, today, a court in Madrid ruled:
“FIFA, UEFA and all its associated football federations must not adopt “any measure that prohibits, restricts, limits or conditions in any way” the creation of the Super League.”
What is PM Boris Johnson saying?
Boris Johnson was in discussion with Football Officials today.
He tweeted that he is against the Super League, and has since suggested that he will bring in legislation to prevent it if necessary.
No action is off the table and we are exploring every possibility to ensure these proposals are stopped. pic.twitter.com/QZMGRnXDcF
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 20, 2021
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson said he is also considering preventing players attaining work VISAs and also withdrawal of police funding for match days.
In light of this controversy, Manchester City has begun their withdrawal from the Super League, with Chelsea following suit.