Is the European Super League making a comeback?
The infamous European Super League (ESL) that was supposed to be dead in the water is again in the conversation after recent developments. The coming months could be crucial for the ESL's fight for existence.
The European Super League was introduced in April last year. The idea was that clubs will play a new competition instead of the Champions league with the 12 founding members having a permanent spot in the competition.
However, due to protest by fans, pressure from governments and football governing bodies, the league was shelved within three days. Things went as far as a British envoy warning the UAE that Manchester City's participation in the ESL would damage the relationship between the UAE and the UK.
At the end, nine clubs left ESL and all the clubs were subjected to financial penalties. Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona refused to leave despite threats from UEFA.
So now, is it possible that a dormant project like the ESL will be revived? If so, how?
In reality, the Super league was never dead, it was put on hold. The creators of the super league refused to give up on their dream. When asked about UEFA's threat to the ESL clubs in an interview with El Chiringuito, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez laughed it off.
He had good reasons for his confidence. The ESL had secured a ruling from Madrid's commercial court that any punishment imposed on them by UEFA is illegal. Nevertheless, UEFA still punished them and both parties then went to court.
In May 2021, the matter was handed over to the European Court of Justice (CJEU), which forced UEFA to suspend the sanctions on the ESL clubs until the dispute was resolved. The ruling will be crucial for the ESL.
On top of that, another key development is taking place in Spain which could fast-track the re-introduction of the ESL.
An amendment in Spanish law was supposed to be introduced that would prevent La Liga clubs from joining another league. Things took a turn however, when Political party "Partido Popular" retracted the proposal to introduce the amendment.
This caused La Liga to retaliate. A meeting took place between La Liga president Javier Tebas, presidents of Spanish clubs, minister of sports and National Sports Council to discuss the situation.
After the meeting, various club presidents accused Florentino Perez of influencing the government. They also threatened that La Liga would go on a strike in protest. As SD Eibar president put it, "We're not bluffing when we say we can stop football."
Through legal battles and allegedly using political influence behind the scenes, the ESL creators are fighting on all fronts to keep the competition alive. The Athletic even claimed that arguments heard in CJEU suggest the ESL, or something similar, will be back at some point.
It also remains to be seen whether Premier league "Big 6" clubs will still join or not. One thing is for sure, we will hear more about the ESL in future. Whether the ESL comes back and is successful or not remains, however, to be seen.
Tamjidul Hoque loves talking about Football and watching Anime. You can contact him at [email protected]
1. theathletic.com (August 10, 2022). The European Super League is still fighting for survival – the battle continues.
2. en.as.com (October 16, 2022). LaLiga clubs threaten to go on strike.