Hours preceding the sort of matches it would seek to end, Europe’s major powerhouses look set to put their dream of a European Superleague in motion.
Hastened by the financial aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are amongst the teams rumored to be part of a new European Superleague that could be potentially announced tonight.
BREAKING - A European Super League is expected to be announced tonight, according to reports.— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) April 18, 2021
No German or French clubs involved. Man United, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico, Inter, AC and Juventus are.
UEFA crisis talks planned. pic.twitter.com/jOGveIO30N
Furthering the legitimacy of these rumors', the Premier League as well as UEFA itself have already published statements condemning the mega-rich’s new pet project, with the European governing body producing the starkest warning.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations - will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” the statement reads, “As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
UEFA’s suggested consequences are devastating on their own, however, they might barely scratch the surface. Despite the deep financial resources that a European Superleague could give Real Madrid, it’s hard to see how supporting such project does anything but move Real Madrid away from its community values. The logistics will likely price out thousands of socios supposed to own and dictate the club’s future and it certainly makes the club more a European franchise that a Madrid based club.
There is also the historical and ethical side to consider. Real Madrid was influential in finding the competitions that now dominate the Spanish and European game. Its inaugural presidents helped found the Copa del Rey and the Spanish Football federations while Santiago Bernabéu was integral in the creation of the European Cup, not to mention in maintaining the cantera.
Real Madrid founded these tournaments in the spirit of fair competition and challenging themselves against the best Spain and Europe had to offer. The European Superleague has not been conceived with the same ideals. The lack of relegation or promotion, as well as its exclusive membership, kill the spirit of fair competition. True, the teams currently poised to join the league are among the best in the world, but, the current setup ensures no one else will ever have the chance to challenge that homogony in the future.
Real Madrid wasn’t always a superpower, it owes that status to several wizardly historical figures, several generations of committed fans and socios as well of hundreds of teams that, despite their limited success, produced players and new standards that helped Real become world beaters. In short, the values of fair play and meritocracy made Real Madrid what they are and they owe it to everything that put the club on its current pedestal to maintain those values.
In my own little slice of Real Madrid, the cantera outlook in a post Superleague world is quite pessimistic. If UEFA are serious about their threats, its hard to see how Castilla and the rest of La Fabrica won’t also suffer the same ostracization as Real’s senior side. The best case scenario for Castilla, would be playing in a youth Superleague where the only route for a young player to progress is through a senior team that will no longer be playing matches that offer the opportunity for young players to learn and develop their talent. Not only that, but Real Madrid would also have access to massive financial resources and its hard to see how this, coupled with consistent “big matches”, would do anything but push La Fabrica to the bottom of Real Madrid’s priorities.
Given the ESL rumours today, been thinking about where Castilla stand if something like this comes to fruition. It's a pretty mixed (potentially pessimistic) picture.— Castilla Corner (@CastillaCorner) April 18, 2021
The European Superleague already splits opinion. Should it be announced as planned, it will likely become the most decisive issue football fans have ever faced. The current pandemic has demonstrated that even the traditional superpowers don’t have bottomless pockets and perhaps that fact will convince fans that any sacrifice is worth the financial stability a European Superleague could offer. For others (myself included), its nearly impossible to look past all the things Real Madrid could lose rather than that it could gain.