The Super League Debacle Continues
The creation of the European Super League sent waves across the footballing world on April 18. It was supposed to bring more money to these elite clubs that were invited into the league, but also potentially change the landscape of European football. The European Super League was supposed to replace the UEFA Champions League for the clubs invited. To put it into context with American sports, imagine all of the blue-chip college basketball teams creating their own tournament in lieu of the NCAA Tournament. It would certainly bring them more money, but would also change March Madness as fans and media love it to be.
48 hours after the Super League was formed, nine of the twelve teams decided to abandon the Super League amidst backlash from the fans and the media. These nine clubs were ordered to pay a “gesture of goodwill” by UEFA to benefit children, youth and grassroots football. Along with that, these nine clubs also agreed to face a fine from UEFA of 100 million euros if they seek to play again in an unauthorized competition or 50 million euros if they breach any other commitments to UEFA.
A Spanish judge has now voided the order of the goodwill payment and the potential fine for these nine clubs for playing in an unauthorized competition. These clubs were also facing fines from their respective leagues, in which the judge specifically ordered the leagues not to take action. The English Premier League and the Italian Football Association cannot impose any fines or penalties according to the judge.
The three remaining clubs left in the Super League, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, were threatened by UEFA with fines and possible expulsion from European competitions like the Champions League or Europa League. These teams cannot be banned from UEFA sanctioned competitions as stated in the judge’s original order in April. The judge claimed that punishments handed down from UEFA or FIFA could violate free competition laws.
This is a big crush to UEFA, who has done everything in their power to try to stop these teams from forming a Super League. The creation of the Super League is a threat to UEFA as it would make the Champions League a lot less valuable for TV deals, sponsors, endorsements, etc. UEFA enjoy hosting the premier club competition in Europe and the Super League would threaten that hierarchy. The creation of the Super League would take away the top clubs that help make the Champions League the best club competition in the world. This is certainly something UEFA cannot allow to happen as it would diminish the Champions League and with that means the loss of a lot of revenue.
It is very possible that a few years down the line we see the Super League try to make a comeback. Just like the Champions League has expanded to involve more teams to boost revenue, top teams will look to find ways to boost their revenue. The Super League would do just that as it guarantees these top teams the ability to play in the best club competition in the world while not having to worry to qualify for it. The teams in the Super League would be guaranteed qualification unlike the Champions League, where you qualify depending on how well you do in your domestic league. With the Super League, most teams would be invited in regardless of where they finish in their league, which was one of the main concerns of fans and media. A team could get relegated to the second division, but still compete in the Super League. The fans and media have won the battle of the Super League…for now.