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12 Soccer Teams Announce Formation of European Super League

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Nik:

https://www.espn.com/soccer/uefa-champions-league/story/4364173/man-unitedjuventustottenham-among-team-to-participate-in-super-league

So this sort of seems to be the big story in the sports world. I'm not the biggest soccer fan, or even one at all to be honest, but the way I understand it is that 12 of the biggest teams in Europe who play in their domestic leagues but also play in a Europe-wide Champions league that they have to earn their way into based on merit have decided instead to replace the Champions league with a league they've created themselves where they'll have permanent spots in and only a few spots will be available for teams from smaller leagues to earn a place.

Basically, it looks like the Americanization of European soccer where a handful of teams are "Major League" and earn the most money and the rest are minor leagues. It's lead to all sorts of outrage from Soccer's governing bodies, including threats that the players on these teams(which comprise some of the best players in the world) could be banned from international competitions. That has led to threats of lawsuits from the 12 clubs.

Anyways, it seems like a real mess.

Arn:
Obviously football (soccer) is my first sporting love. I grew up playing it in the driveway, on the streets, in the school playground.

My dad took me to my first game when I was 6 and that's me. Our team is a really successful team locally, lots of league titles. Historically they had some great results in European competition but the league here is semi-professional so we got left behind a little bit.

A couple of years ago we were one goal away from qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League (the second tier competition behind the Champions League). It was amazing. The utter highs and lows of emotion of that qualification run were just incredible.

And that is what makes football different to American sports. On any given day or year a small team can come from nowhere to achieve something. No matter where you are at any given time in the hierarchy you always have that hope and aspiration. Equally you can find your niche and be happy to play in the second or third division with occasional runs at promotion and that is fine. But there's always hope.

This closed shop just goes against the entire 140 year tradition of the global sport of football. It intrinsically changes the sport. It's pure and utter greed.

I'm a big fan of North American sports as well, clearly. But they're very different. You have the whole draft system and so on. But if a team is bottom of the league there's no peril to it. I like that if a team is bottom of a league in football they have to keep trying to win to try and get out of that and stay in the league they're in.

Deebo:
The problem I have with it is that different teams within the same competition would operate under completely different rules.

Reports have started to come out that Manchester City and Chelsea are withdrawing.

Nik:

--- Quote from: Arn on April 20, 2021, 08:32:25 AM ---And that is what makes football different to American sports. On any given day or year a small team can come from nowhere to achieve something. No matter where you are at any given time in the hierarchy you always have that hope and aspiration. Equally you can find your niche and be happy to play in the second or third division with occasional runs at promotion and that is fine. But there's always hope.

--- End quote ---

To be fair, I think that's only true of American sports because of the way the so-called "Major Leagues" became monopolies. Before farm systems you'd have independent leagues and so an minor team in Hamilton or a baseball team in Fort Laredo, Texas would be their own entities whose leagues had their own championships that mattered to their fans. Then those teams and leagues were bought up by the major leagues who wanted to convince everyone their leagues were the only ones that mattered and smaller leagues should just feed into bigger ones, their best players being "promoted" no matter what sort of championship situation they were in.

But you're right, there is something about how the European soccer system says there's as much reason to be a fan of Ipswich Town as there is Manchester United. That even if a team like Watford has no real chance of being as good as Chelsea in most years, being a sports fan should be about more than just being obsessed with wins and losses and seeing everything like a balance sheet where players are just assets in service of the jersey they wear.

Nik:

--- Quote from: Deebo on April 20, 2021, 02:14:27 PM ---Reports have started to come out that Manchester City and Chelsea are withdrawing.

--- End quote ---

Yeah, it looks like it's collapsing a day into the announcement.

That said, I still think this is just the start of trying to Americanize sports over there. I bet we hear of a huge labour issue within a few years as they try to implement some sort of wage cap.

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