All the Reasons Why the Latest European Super League Idea Sucks

Oct 26, 2020, 5:00 PM GMT
Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Final
The Super League could replace the Champions League | Pool/Getty Images
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A selection of the biggest sides in European football have been plotting a domestic football revolution in what could spell the end for the Champions League.

Over a dozen clubs from across Europe are in talks about joining the Fifa-backed tournament, branded the European Premier League.

It will see European football's elite go toe to toe on a more frequent basis, with up to 18 teams involved in a 34-game league followed by knock out stages format.

Let's take a look at the various reasons why this should not be given the green light.

1. The Entitlement

Harry Maguire, Andrew Robertson
The likes of Liverpool and Manchester United could be immune to relegation | Michael Regan/Getty Images

According to Sky Sports, the initial plans for the Super League state that founding members cannot be relegated for 20 years.

This means the founding members - presumably the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Liverpool - will have their status as an elite club guaranteed for two decades on the basis that they are currently a big club.

2. The Exclusivity

Lionel Messi, Toni Kroos
The likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid would become untouchable | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

With the guarantee of no relegation for a selection of sides, there would be a maximum of just six spaces per season for non-founding members to enter the Super League.

The competition would be closed off to so many, effectively creating a glass ceiling for most clubs and reinforcing the idea that there is a small, exclusive, elite, untouchable group of teams.

3. The Lack of Sporting Integrity

The Top European Football Club Badges
The European Premier League protects the elite | Visionhaus/Getty Images

How can you not be relegated just because you are a 'big club?' How can you be guaranteed a spot in such an illustrious competition because of profile, not performances?

It's like an out of shape Usain Bolt rocking up to the 2020 Olympics, pulling a muscle in the 100m heats then gaining automatic entry to the final, taking 57 seconds to limp over the finish line and being handed a medal because he's got a massive sponsorship deal with PUMA.

4. The Ridiculousness of the Criteria

Wes Morgan
Leicester have been more successfully domestically in recent seasons than half of the big six | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The founding members of the Super League will have qualified to be founding members of the Super League on the basis of the subjective criteria that they are currently a 'big club'.

In England, this will likely mean five of the current 'big six' will be included - Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham.

Leicester have won the Premier League more recently than half of the so called big six. It's such a ridiculous, subjective, entitled way of labelling clubs.

5. It Boxes off the 'Big Six'

Top Six Club Badges on Football Shirts
The big six would become impossible to break into | Visionhaus/Getty Images

The 'big six' is famously fluid. Ten years ago it was the 'big four'. Over the last 50 years, countless teams could stake a claim to be among the biggest and best in the country; Aston Villa, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, Everton, Ipswich.

Just because these sides are the top teams in the country now does not mean they guaranteed to be for the rest of eternity. But by boxing off the big six and allowing them to compete in their own lucrative tournament, it reduces the chance of someone else breaking into said elite club ever again.

6. The Omission of the Underdog

Josip Ilicic
Atalanta were the story of the 2019/20 Champions League | UEFA - Handout/Getty Images

The basis of the European Super League is that it eliminates dead rubber group games and increases the number of times that Europe's top teams meet per season in order to make the competition a more appealing product for TV revenue.

Yes, some one sided group games are dull. But this will completely throw out all lesser sides who have contributed to thrilling underdog triumphs down the years in the Champions League. Look at Lyon knocking out Juventus and Manchester City during the 2019/20 tournament, Atalanta's remarkable run to the quarter finals, and Ajax's series of giant killings the previous year.

Good sport is all about narratives. Great sport is all about narratives being completely torn up and thrown out of the window. This won't happen if only a selection of the very best teams in Europe are granted exclusive entry.

7. The Arrogance

Davit Knocholava
The smaller teams can often create the Champions League's greatest moments | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

It's the idea that only 18 hand picked top teams in Europe can create entertaining football.

Shakhtar Donetsk's B team beat Real Madrid less than seven days ago. Football is at its best when it's chaotic and unpredictable, not when the same 18 teams play each other season after season.

8. It Increases the Game's Inequality

Marcus Rashford
The gulf between the best and the rest would become insurmountable | Pool/Getty Images

Do you remember in the glorious 60s and 70s when teams would get promoted and then win the league title the following season? A distant, long gone memory.

In leagues across Europe the gulf in quality and finances between the top few sides and the rest is huge. A new Super League with blockbuster TV deals afforded to an elite group of teams is only going to increase this gulf.

9. The Lack of Diversity

Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr
PSG could be the only French side in the Super League | Xavier Laine/Getty Images

A maximum of 18 sides will make up the European Premier League. Do you reckon that will be one club from 18 different countries?

No, it will be a lot of teams from England and Spain and a few more from Germany and Italy and probably one from France.

Can it really be called a European Premier League if only a handful of European countries are actually represented?

10. It's Boring

Adrian, Ollie Watkins
Would you get this kind of chaos if the European Premier League was given the go ahead? | Pool/Getty Images

How much fun has the start to the 2020/21 Premier League season been?

Liverpool conceding seven! Everton are top of the table! Manchester City and Manchester United are in the bottom half of the league!

Make the elite more elite and you kill the joyous, competitive, unpredictable nature of sport.

11. Allowing Smaller Clubs to Die

General Views of Sport Venues After Events Postponed Due To Coronavirus
The absence of crowds is killing lower league clubs | Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Coronavirus is crippling smaller clubs.

There are so many sides in the north west already in financial turmoil prior to the pandemic - Bury have already gone, Bolton, Oldham, Wigan are struggling.

How can spending $6bn on a European Super League be justified when the teams holding up the football pyramid are bleeding?

12. It Prioritises TV Revenue Over Fans

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League
A lucrative TV broadcast deal is at the heart of the European Premier League premise | Visionhaus/Getty Images

The notion of a European Premier League is geared towards a blockbuster TV deal. The very best teams in Europe playing each other every week, what's not to love for the broadcasters?

Such an illustrious competition could take precedence over domestic football - the football that match going supporters largely prefer. Instead, these fans will be shafted as the domestic game plays second fiddle to the European Premier League - matches that will be much more expensive and difficult to attend.

13. The Greed

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-MAN UTD
The owners of Liverpool and Manchester United were responsible for cooking up Project Big Picture | PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

It is simply billionaire owners putting their own financial interests above any care for what supporters or the rest of football wants and needs.

14. The Lack of Actual Champions

Harry Kane, Eric Bailly
Could Manchester United and Tottenham both gain entry into the European Premier League despite not being champions of England? | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Even calling the Champions League the Champions League feels a bit rich now when only about half the teams that qualify for the group stages are actually champions of their respective leagues.

Champions of the 'less superior' divisions are already left to scramble through numerous qualification rounds to then get knocked out by a team who finished fourth in their league.

It's not particularly fair that many top flight champions have to struggle simply to get into the current Champions League group stages - imagine being denied entry altogether.

15. The Environment

FBL-ENG-LCUP-FOREST GREEN-ENVIRONMENT-SPORT
All of Forest Green Rovers' environmental work will be as good as undone by the constant air travel of the Super League | AFP Contributor/Getty Images

What use is Forest Green going vegan if football's elite are going to be jetting across Europe in excess of 17 times per season?

16. It Will Be a Nightmare for Glory Hunters

Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
What happens when your team aren't as good as they're supposed to be? | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

What happens when you choose to support a big team and suddenly they're no longer the biggest and best team in the league because it's a league filled exclusively with all the other biggest and best teams?

Twitter is going to be an absolute minefield.

17. It Jeopardises Domestic Football

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah
What would the European Premier League mean for the English Premier League? | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

What happens when the European Premier League wave their wallets and demand that they be granted the weekend broadcast slots? What happens to the domestic game?

18. It Jeopardises the Lower Leagues

Coventry City v Queens Park Rangers - Sky Bet Championship
What would a European Premier League mean for the Football League? | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Such a blockbuster sponsorship deal for the European Premier League would likely reduce the broadcast revenue that the English Premier League receives as it is no longer such a desirable product.

This filters down to the Championship, League One and League Two and could be the final straw that breaks struggling clubs. We're very proud of our football pyramid in the UK - the European Premier League could crush it.

19. RIP the League Cup?

FBL-WAL-ENG-LCUP-SWANSEA-FILES
Try telling Swansea fans the League Cup doesn't matter | GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

A 34-game European campaign leaves little room for domestic cup competitions - and as signalled by the proposals in Project Big Picture, the League Cup will be the first to go.

It's often regarded as a Micky Mouse competition and does not carry the same prestige as the FA Cup - but tell that to fans of Swansea, Middlesbrough and Bradford, who have enjoyed some of their finest hours in said competition and would not exchange those cherished memories for the world.

20. The Timing

The Official Nike Premier League Match Ball and Protective Mask
Plans were leaked during the coronavirus pandemic | Visionhaus/Getty Images

We're in the midst of a global health pandemic, is now really the most appropriate time to be drafting up ideas about how best to rip up football so that it can suit the interests of billionaires?

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