What happened to the Super League?
The European Super League (ESL) was an attempt by twelve of the richest football clubs in Europe to form their own breakaway competition.
Six English Premier League teams, and three each from Italy, and Spain, signed-up for the project, and they hoped to attract several teams to join them in the competition which would be played mid-week through the existing season.
Each of the founder clubs were promised millions of dollars to join the new league, with US investment bank JP Morgan, backing the project being ready to underwrite it to a tune of US $4.8 million.
The new league would no doubt have attracted considerable sums in bets on every match through a variety of outlets, including online casinos such those categorised within casinolist.ca listed here.
However, within 48 hours of being announced, the project was dead in the water, as all six Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, pulled out.
They were quickly followed by AC and Inter Milan, and Atlético Madrid in Spain.
The remaining three members, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus are still signed-up to the project but, without the other teams, it is meaningless. They cannot just play matches among themselves because nobody would be interested.
The ESL failed primarily because it took no account of the views of the supporters, either of the clubs themselves, or those who follow football in general.
Indeed, one of the internal documents leaked revealed that one of the owners had described such people as legacy fans, distinguishing them from the new breed of supporters they hoped to attract – younger, more global, who were interested in “content” as opposed to the sporting merit of the matches.
The majority of the owners of the ESL clubs were American, and they thought that the same franchise model that is common in mostly US sports could be applied to Europe. That meant no promotion or relegation, just a series of games featuring the same teams each year.
The backlash was ferocious and unprecedented, and the failure of the ESL to put in any place of marketing or PR strategy staggering given the sums involved.
All the Premier League owners have since backed away from the league completely, apologised to their fans, and made varying promises about their continued commitment to the clubs (not that anybody believes them!).
There have subsequently been protest at club grounds against the owners, one of which, against the Glazer family which own Manchester United, turned violent and forced the cancellation of their game against Liverpool.
Meanwhile UEFA has handed out light financial punishments to the rebels who decided to reject the ESL, although they still face potential sanctions from the domestic leagues that they tried to disrupt.
It has yet to be announced what it intends to do about the three remaining clubs, although exclusion from European competition for at least a season is a [possibility.
Nobody, though, should be under any illusion that the concept is finished, however. Such a league was always threatened, and, even if it has failed in its proposed guise, football fans need to be vigilant.
The billionaires backing the ESL are not used to having their will defied. They may be inclined to try again when the furore has died down, even if the proposed competition will look cosmetically different.