If you've been on social media tonight you would have seen the talk over the new Super League in the world of soccer. You're probably confused about it and don't understand why so many soccer fans are furious. It's a hard concept to grasp, especially if you're an American sports fan.
Earlier today, Sam's Army did an awesome blog on what the hell a Super League is anyways.
TL;DR: Top clubs across Europe are coming together to create a Super League. They're doing this to make more money because UEFA (the current governing body of European soccer) is taking too much of the money they feel they deserve. Soccer fans feel that this will ruin soccer as they know it, a sport that is not just the big clubs, but the small clubs playing in the 6th leagues across Europe.
Since Sam wrote his blog, The Super League was further confirmed by every club that is a part of it.
What's wrong with The Super League? As an American, doesn't this just make sense? The NFL, NBA, NHL, etc are all Super Leagues technically, why wouldn't the top clubs play each other all the time?
Pause: Just so we are clear, European soccer clubs play in their own domestic leagues (EPL, La Liga, Serie A) and then aim to qualify for the current European competition called Champions League. You qualify for this league based on last year's play. Manchester United and Barcelona don't play each other in the EPL, but they play each other in the Champions League. The Super League would pretty much be Champions League all the time but limited to just the 12 teams in The Super League currently. There is a trickle-down effect from top clubs in their respective countries that allow smaller clubs to exist. That way 11 leagues are currently going on in England, with 1000s of clubs. The domestic-European tie-in for top clubs has been the structure of soccer for a long time. Soccer fans take great pride in it.
To understand the hatred for The Super League you must acknowledge the cultural differences in American and European sport.
Most American sports fans not associated closely with soccer won’t find anything wrong with The Super League concept. They’ll wonder why this hasn’t started long ago. It’s the biggest display of cultural differences I’ve seen in sports.
I see this the most in Germany. Fans protested games simply for the Bundesliga putting a game on Monday (football is a game for the working class and they wouldn’t be able to attend Monday matches).
My biggest shock came when I saw how mad soccer fans got over simple ticket prices. For an Arsenal - Bayern UCL game it was 64 euros to get in in 2016, so Bayern fans protested. Imagine getting 1st deck tickets to a massive regular-season game for $75?!? Seems like a steal in my American sports brain.
Another example of the apparent hatred of big money coming into the sport came when Red Bull bought a team in Germany. They automatically became the most hated team in Germany.
It’s really the difference between growing up a sports supporter in a capitalistic vs. socialistic country. (Not saying all of Europe is socialist, but it is more so than America). There is no surprise to me that the two biggest clubs in Germany declined the bid to The Super League:
Fans feel a bit betrayed by The Super League. Troopz is talking about protesting, even though this move to The Super League would help Arsenal out of a dire financial situation:
He isn't the only supporter that is mad at their own club, if you take a look at the replies/quote tweets to these tweets, you'll see thousands of furious fans:
Fans feel this is pure greed on display. Clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool (You'll Never Walk Alone) were built by the working class and are now making moves strictly based on money. As an American fan, it makes sense because the club is just going to make more money, but European soccer fans value the system and game they've built more than just the $$$$$. Here is former Manchester United player Gary Neville explaining the situation much better than I ever could:
ADD (10:15 PM): The Super League will not feature a relegation system, which every European league has. This will make it entirely like the NFL. What makes soccer so much more unique than say the NBA or NFL is the relegation system. You can’t tank in the Premier League, because if you do, you get kicked out of the league which will then result in receiving much less money from the tier 2 league due to less lucrative TV rights (among other things). The relegation system allows every club in Europe to think if they put together a long enough run they will be able to make it to the top league. This is very unlikely but a team that is currently in the 5th league in England right now could technically be in the Premier League in 5 years. The Super League will not have this system. This is another aspect that fans feel is special about soccer, but will be killed due to greed
What is the current response? UEFA has struck back with an iron fist:
Fans are supporting UEFA and FIFA, which never happens:
There is even talk of domestic leagues banning clubs from the rest of their current season. Rumors were swirling that UEFA was going to suspend Champions League and Europa League, that hasn't been confirmed though:
This was one hell of a Sunday night news dump, but the soccer world is furious right now. What will happen? I assume The Super League happens and soccer will change forever. It'll become more commercialized, but soccer fans acting like that isn't already the case are just wrong. Every soccer jersey looks like a NASCAR firesuit.
I just threw a lot at you, but hopefully, it makes a little bit of sense. If I had to sum up why fans are so mad in one sentence: soccer fans think their sport is already controlled too much by money and this move is the greediest move yet and further proof that the fan's beautiful game is now being controlled by big money.