The idea of a European Super League, where the richest clubs will play on invitation rather than having to qualify, has created a lot of waves in the world of football, and the manager who might be the worst affected by it — Claudio Ranieri — has condemned the prospective move.
According to the proposal, all the top teams that have huge fan bases around the world and draw the largest broadcasting revenues would be invited to play the league, that can replace the current Champions League.
This kind of a format is being thought of to bring financial stability to the big clubs, who would be assured of participation in a money-generating continental tournament, regardless of where they finish in the league.
Leicester City are obviously the one club that would never want such a tournament to replace the Champions League, as they themselves cannot match up to the financial clout of the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“All the fans want sport to be very clear, for there to be respect for everybody,” Ranieri was quoted as saying by The Guardian. “I understand the bigger teams want to be sure to get money and don’t want to lose one year without the Champions League but this is sport. You have to deserve the Champions League.”
The Leicester City manager also went on to say that the big clubs are wary of the competition posed to them by the smaller clubs, and are “afraid” of losing out on a year’s Champions League action.
“For one year you don’t achieve this, you want to make something different? I think it’s not right. You are afraid, you are not strong. You are afraid to lose money,” said Ranieri. “It’s not good for the sport because after, what happens? There are four or five teams from each country, and the rest, what do they do? People must think what the fans want, not only about money because culture and fans are more important than other things,” he said.
European Super League to take away football’s ‘selling point’?
Football is heavily followed by fans all around the world and attracts large numbers of viewers, many of whom are drawn in by potential underdog stories in almost every league around the world. Another aspect that keeps the suspense alive for the crowds is the prospect of relegation. Both of these are based purely on the results that a team produces on the field in a particular season and a particular league. Only the top teams from every European league get to play the Champions League.
However, the proposed format of the European Super League might take away from the narrative of the ‘best teams’ being decided on the basis of results in the domestic league. This could in turn take away from the ‘selling point’ of football for the consumers (fans). The proposed plan of a super league may be convenient for the financial side of the clubs involved, but it takes away what keeps both the ends of every league interesting for the viewers and hampers the spirit of competition in the sport.