The Dirty Dozen

If you want a lesson on how not to launch a new venture then look no further than the European Super League. In the space of just three days they have launched and disbanded. To quote Chris Kamara on Gillette Soccer Saturday “Unbelievable Jeff!”

Never, have a group of, it has to be said very rich owners got something so wrong. How could they think that there wouldn’t be any push back? 

So what were the problems?

Well let’s start with the name, The European Super League but it only contained teams from three European nations, England, Spain and Italy? Where were Germany, France, Holland etc and what was the qualifying criteria? 

Why were there six teams from England and only three from Spain and Italy? 

Why were Arsenal(my team by the way) and Tottenham in it? 

Who did the logo? It looked like something you could get from Vistaprint. 

Why didn’t they tell their managers and playing staff before going public?

Why didn’t they consult with the fans?

Of the six English owners involved, I would say three out of the six were already unpopular with their own fans. I’m talking Arsenal, Manchester Utd and Tottenham. 

Two months ago I wrote this,

“The subject of ownership has come up this week too with the Buccaneers owned by the Glazer family. Does that name ring any bells for you? Yes they are the owners of the English Premier League team Manchester United. A family that is not liked too much by the Red Devils fans and that has been shown in the past by the Buccaneers fans too. It made me think of how many Premier League teams now have American influence. It might surprise you to know that it’s Ten! 

Arsenal: Kroenke Sports & Entertainment 

Aston Villa: Wesley Edens, Fortress Investment Group

Burnley: ALK Capital 

Chelsea: Chairman is Bruce Buck, an American lawyer. 

Crystal Palace: Joshua Harris & David Blitzer Tag Worldwide Investment 

Fulham: Shahid Khan, Flex-N-Gate Corp

Leeds Utd: York Family, 49ers Enterprises 

Liverpool: Fenway Sports Group

Manchester Utd: The Glazer Family

West Ham: Albert Smith, GSO Capital Partners

Worth noting that Tottenham have done a deal with the National Football League(NFL) to host two American Football games a year at their brand new stadium when restrictions allow. It has also been said that if a franchise was to be set up in the UK then the Spurs ground would be the natural choice. Which pushes the American influence to Eleven. 

Now I’m not sure if you’re aware that promotion and relegation doesn’t exist in American sport. I’m sure this would be something that would appeal to the American owners and influencers in the Premier League. So could that actually happen in the future? Well at the moment no, in order for anything to change the Premier League currently requires the consent of 14 of its 20 clubs to approve decisions large and small but don’t be surprised if this rears its ugly head in the future.” 

And so it did but not in the Premier League but in the form of the European Super League. But they made a right old pigs ear of it. 

So what happens now? 

Well the FA, UEFA and FIFA have come out smelling of roses but let’s not forget these guys aren’t exactly the saviours of football. Remember FIFA and UEFA’s years of corruption and the FA have been slow to react on things such as dementia and racism. All three have lost their leaders for various reasons, Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Greg Clarke have gone in recent times. 

Also let’s remember it was the FA who started the Premier league back in 1992, which led to the 20 teams basically abandoning the other 72. Sound familiar? 

It has grown and grown and the TV deals are eye watering. Of the current deal, 91% of the revenue goes to the Premier League and the other 9% to the rest of the pyramid. Fair? I don’t think so. 

The one word that ties all this together is MONEY. Football was awash with it until the pandemic. Which is probably why these clubs decided to do this now and all the so called big teams in Europe wanted a piece of it. But with no fans in the last year these clubs have struggled. Look at the net debt of some of the clubs.

Tottenham: £604 million

Barcelona, £488 million

Man United: £455 million

Juventus, £357 million

Real Madrid £ 354 million

Arsenal: £108 million 

AC Milan: £103 million

What can change? 

Well this hasn’t gone away and something needs to change to stop these clubs being able to do this again. 

Fans are saying they want ownership of their clubs like the German model, where fans own 51%. That’s ok but if Manchester United are say worth £4 Billion how are the fans going to afford the £2billion they need? Fans representation on clubs boards might be the way forward. 

Players wages are going to have to come down or a wage cap introduced. It’s one of the only things that keeps going up particularly at the top end and the clubs are putting themselves at risk.

The top five earning players in wages according to Forbes are.

  1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona: $92 million
  2. Neymar, PSG: $78 million
  3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus: $70 million 
  4. Mbappe, PSG: 28 million
  5. Salah Liverpool: $24 million

These figures do not take into account endorsements. Which in Ronaldo’s case is another $47 million! 

It was a monumental but strange few days and as I said earlier we need to be wary as this hasn’t gone away. 

It’s a funny old game!

Take care everyone and enjoy your Weekend! 

Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance! 

Follow him on Twitter @DadTaxi1 & Instagram @dad.taxi or feel free to email him at rprior@globobalear.com 

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