Announced On Sunday, Done On Tuesday? The Story Of The European Super League

Sebastian Buchman

The European Super League was a failure.

The idea was that the biggest teams in European soccer would make their own competition that bypassed the Champions League, which requires qualification. Because the new league would guarantee these teams a spot within the tournament each year, the teams would make more money by competing against only the most prestigious opponents.

It was obvious that as soon as Chelsea began to withdraw from the proposal to make a new club competition that the league was not going to come to fruition. The superclubs of Europe decided to make their own UEFA Champions League alternative, which irked UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) and FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association), to the tune of potential punishments such as bans from the UCL and domestic leagues to players being barred from the World Cup.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez was also the President of the European Super League, becoming the main figure of criticism from the entirety of the soccer/football world during the wild 48 hours in which the proposal was still on the table. However, one of the main casualties of the entire process was former Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who resigned from his position over the ESL controversy.

The power structure of European soccer was severely threatened by the existence of the league, as revenues would be increased for the top clubs that already have an advantage financially compared to smaller clubs within the same domestic leagues. The top six teams in England, for example, all made hundreds of millions of dollars more than the best of the other fourteen clubs financially.

The growing power disparity between the largest clubs and the rest of the pack was one of the main criticisms of the ESL proposal, coming off as greedy of the biggest teams to form their own competition in order to draw the most revenue possible. Fans, players, and pundits alike spoke out about the ESL, creating large backlash impactful enough to ultimately send the proposal spiraling out of control when most of the teams decided to nix their participation within the competition.