The European Super League (ESL): A blatant disregard for the game

The formation of a breakaway ESL has caused widespread discontent amongst soccer fans.

At the beginning of this week, 12 of Europe’s most prestigious soccer clubs announced that they were going to be forming a breakaway league in which only the top competitors were eligible to enter. Fans were understandably outraged, taking to social media in an effort to voice their discontent.

Millions of tweets and Instagram posts have been published regarding the ESL, with the majority of them being overwhelmingly negative. Soccer supporters saw the ESL for what it was: a cash grab. Large clubs saw the Super League as an opportunity to attract an extremely large viewership, thus increasing revenue.

Rio Ferdinand, a former Manchester United star says, “I think this breakaway group of teams, this is a war on football. It’s a disgrace. It’s embarrassing. And it goes against everything that football is about. It’s a closed shop for these bigwigs and it’s completely and utterly only about one thing and that’s money.” Most soccer fans share similar sentiments as Ferdinand.

From a current player’s perspective, Ander Herrera, a player for Paris Saint-Germain, points out the flaw regarding actual competition: “I fell in love with popular football, with the football of the fans, with the dream of seeing the team of my heart competes against the greatest. If this European Super League advances, those dreams are over, the illusions of the fans of the teams that are not giants of being able to win on the field competing in the best competitions will end.” Herrera is referring to the closed-door nature of the ESL and how it would not allow for cinderella-story victories unlike the UEFA Champions League. 

The discontent elucidated by fans’ protest eventually resulted in the suspension of the ESL on Apr. 20, until further notice. However, it seems unlikely that the ESL will be able to progress with the number of teams that have withdrawn from it or are attempting to do so. 

Despite the widespread backlash, though, La Liga (The highest Spanish league) giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are still defending the ESL. Real Madrid president and Super League chairman Florentino Perez says, “The project is on stand-by. We are going to keep working. We are convinced that if this project doesn’t work, another similar one will.”

It seems as though supporters of soccer are only able to continue protesting as they wait for further news.