SCREAMIN’ FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – APRIL 23
By Leo Haggerty

SAY HELLO AND GOODBYE 

Last weekend, after three years of secret planning, the concept of the European “Super League” for soccer was unveiled.  A dozen sides, that included some of the most powerful on the continent, released a statement just after 6 pm EDT that they had signed up to become part of what they called the Super League.

The twelve clubs were from three counties.  Six came from England’s Premier League (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur) and the other half dozen came from Spain’s La Lega (Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid) along with Italy’s Serie A (AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus).

Conspicuously absent from the breakaway rebel group were any teams from Germany’s Bundesliga as well as France’s Ligue 1.  Maybe they k new something as you will see shortly.

The reasoning given by the 12 founding clubs was to create a rival to the existing Champions League in European soccer.  Within two days, the newly formed Super League collapsed.  Let’s take a look at why that happened, shall we?

The main reason, in my opinion, was a tidal wave of unexpected fan criticism especially in England.  Thousands of British fans made their feeling known to the Premier League teams who were bolting and it was not a positive response to say the least.

Here are a few examples.  More than 1,000 fans of Chelsea stopped traffic outside Stamford Bridge Stadium and blocked the team bus.  Some Liverpool fans were observed setting a team jersey on fire before their match at Leeds United.  Other simply accused their sides of of being greedy especially when one of the reasons for the creation of the Super League was for a more equitable division of billions of dollars from global television and commercial rights in their eyes.

The criticism even spilled into the political arena.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, an early Super League critic, had threatened legal action to prevent the breakaway teams from exiting the Premier League.

Another reason was the threats of reprisals from the Union of European Football Associations.  Also, sanctions were proposed from the English and Spanish along with the Italian soccer federations.

These unexpected results started a mass exodus from the Super League.  Within 48 hours, all six of the English teams had rethought their positions and would not be joining the Super League.  Soon after, Inter Milan announced it was pulling out as well.

That led Super League founder and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to announce on Wednesday that the new organization was finished.  He stated that the Super League could no longer go ahead in the wake of the defections of a majority of their prospective members.

This was a very paining learning lesson for the non-European owners of the clubs involved especially those in the Premier League. Johnson reiterated that point when he tweeted, “This is the right result for football fans, clubs, and communities across the country.  We must continue to protect our cherished national game.”

Tradition, when it comes to English football , trumps everything even money.  With that being said, don’t expect this concept to resurface anytime soon, because, in reality, the Super League was DOA.