This week, news broke of an alternative football league with 20 of the best – and richest – European football clubs competing against each other.
The idea was not new – similar initiatives were discussed for years – but it was the first time intention met funding: 12 founding clubs received assurances that they’ll get $6 billion funding from an American investment fund.
The news was received with enthusiasm by some. It would’ve meant more matches played by high-profile teams, more events to cover by soccer betting companies, more excitement for football fans and Betway bettors alike – after all, when two strong teams play, the result can be pretty unpredictable – and more money for the clubs themselves.
On the other hand, though, FIFA, UEFA, other football clubs, even politicians have criticised the idea, calling it a greedy move, another cash grab, and a threat to the spirit of the sport, so much that the governing bodies of European and world football threatened the clubs and the players adhering to the new league with banning them from European leagues and worldwide competitions.
The criticism and threats seem to have been effective: all six English Premier Leagues that were among the founding 12 have withdrawn from the European Super League, effectively gutting the idea.
One by one
The news of six of the most-followed EPL teams contributing to the formation of an alternative ‘super league’ caused outrage among their fans, with some even taking it to the streets to protest their decision.
The fans seem to consider the idea of a parallel superleague – and perhaps their favourite teams leaving the Premier League – a very bad idea, driven by greed. And the six EPL teams listened.
Chelsea was the first team to signal its intention to withdraw from the novel alternative superleague. Its example was followed by Manchester United that quickly withdrew from the ESL.
Their example was more than enough for the remaining four EPL teams among the founders – Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham – to leave the European Super League within days from the announcement.
But it’s not only the EPL teams that decided to leave the up-and-coming competition: Italian side Internazionale Milano is also set to withdraw from the competition, leaving the league with only five of the 12 founding teams: Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid from Spain, and Italy’s AC Milan and Juventus.
Barca’s participation depends on the Season Ticket Holders Assembly’s decision (which is likely to vote ‘no’ following this week’s events), while Atletico Madrid is also expected to review its decision in the light of the recent events.
With the majority of the 12 founding teams withdrawing from the competition, it is now clear that the European Super League has no future.