Monday, April 19, 2021

Super league will destroy football

 I'm sure everyone will have seen the plans for a European Super League, with 15 fixed members: three to be decided, 6 English, the Milans, Juventus and the Spanish Big Three. That latter group would once have included Valencia but it's a sign of how far we've fallen in the last decade that no one questions us being absent and no one even has to ask who the big three in Spain are.

The plan is to have those 15, plus 5 extra teams each year. Whether they would qualify or just be invited is unclear. The clubs involved don't intend this to be a breakaway: they plan to participate in this as well as playing in the national leagues, gambling on the fact that the national leagues won't kick them out. They also promise a solidarity fund greater than there is at the minute for other clubs. 

The Super League idea has been around for ages. "Footballer of the year" a game I played on the MSX computer back in the 1980s included a European Super League, as did later games and it was the idea of it that caused UEFA to bring a group stage into the European Cup in the 1990s.  Ultimately, their attempts at concessions to big clubs have clearly failed. Pandering to greed has just produced more greed.

All the 15 clubs participating would get 350 million euro a year just for taking part, with prize money of around 50 million. That compares to the current situation where a team winning the English Premier and Champions league double would get 230 million. Needless to say, for clubs like Arsenal and Milan, who have frequently been absent, it's a considerable windfall.

What of us, though? With the Madrids and Barcelona getting that sort of money, any chance of us getting top three again would be gone forever. Even if we managed to be one of the five extra teams, we'd get no more than 100 million, even if we won it. The whole system is clearly there to set those clubs in stone forever, protected from any real competition. This competition would replace the Champions league, so we'd be forever playing for a glorified Europa league space. Unable to support ourselves financially, we'd be reliant on the charity of these clubs to make ends meet. Any promising players in Spain would be snapped up by them, attracted by the much higher salaries available. With their finances, they'd effectively be able to run two teams. The main team competing in the super league and a second squad of prospect players, effectively Barcelona / Real / Atletico Madrid B, competing in La Liga and easily able to overpower any Spanish teams.

Currently, a team starting in Champions league groups and winning it will play 13 games. Those clubs intend playing 18 games in two groups of ten, with an additional 2-7 games for the top six to decide the overall champion. Where would those additional 12 match days come from? Obviously at the expense of domestic competitions. The Copa del Rey would likely be scrapped or else the top clubs would simply opt out altogether, reducing the interest of sponsors. La Liga would almost certainly reduce to 18 or even 16 teams.

So overall for Valencia:

- no more prospect of top three.
- Champions league scrapped.
- Copa del Rey either scrapped or reduced in importance and revenue.
- Dependent on the charity of Super league clubs for finances.
- Dependent on the charity of Super league clubs for playing top level clubs. 
- Top youth players in our region automatically signing for these clubs.
- Any good players we have taken from us every year, worse than now.
- Loss of 2-4 home games each season due to league reduction in size.

This, of course, applies across the other leagues as well and amounts to the death of competitive football as we know it. Predictably, Valencia, like other clubs not involved, have released an official statement condemning the plan.