With one ruling, the Super League is back. Fans across Europe, and certain clubs, will now have to once again come out against this project. However, with the legitimacy afforded to the league, will it matter?
Fans across Europe protested the Super League with such passion that it seemed to have pushed clubs from fully joining. It was one of the only examples of fan backlash actually having an impact and it was incredible.
Earlier this week, the European Court of Justice delivered a groundbreaking ruling in favor of the Super League and its backers. Real Madrid took this moment to revive this project after just about every team had left. There is no concrete idea of when this project will launch or how it will look like, but its start looks inevitable.
In a great moment of solidarity, fans rallied against the Super League, which they saw as an affront to the sport. Fans are going to have a chance once more to make their voices known, but this moment feels so much different. Armed with this ruling, it’ll be difficult for clubs to use punishment from FIFA and UEFA as an excuse to not join the Super League.
Once again, this debate will have to be rehashed and without the threat of expulsion from UEFA, there’s a feeling that this will happen. All eyes will once be on the Prem, as their withdrawal from the league last time killed the project.
This week’s ruling came out of nowhere, but its impact will change the future of football. The reaction to this news has felt more muted than last time.
In front of Real Madrid’s Champions League trophies, Florentino Perez celebrated the European Court of Justice’s ruling. His project finally got the legitimacy it needed after spending a few years being torn apart. Now, UEFA and FIFA could no longer punish breakaway clubs, clearing the path for the Super League.
After having seen Juventus drop out of the project last year to avoid the harshest punishment from UEFA, it’ll be interesting to see if they will return. Barcelona seems like a lock to return, but outside those two, there are no returnees as of now. Even with the protection of the courts, teams will be reluctant until more elite clubs join.
Perhaps the biggest dominoes to fall will be the Premier League. If the world’s most popular league was to join, all other European giants could fall in line.
The true death knell of the Super League last time around was the decision by Prem giants to drop out. Without the financial prowess and reputation of the Prem, the rest of the league couldn’t find the necessary stability. It was due in large part to the fans letting their clubs know that this project was antithetical to what the sport means.
Now that the court has protected breakaways, Premier League clubs can join without any issue. Unlike the rest of Europe, there are few financial issues across the Prem, which is the biggest reason for most clubs to join the Super League. Premier League clubs don’t need to join, but they may see the financial possibilities too promising to ignore.
With the ruling, it’s a whole new ball game for Europe’s elite. The European Super League will likely arrive in the next few years with little standing in its way.
It will once again fall on the fans to rescue football again. However, there is something about this result that feels definite.
In an age where most forms of solidarity can be easily dismissed, such as the Oakland A’s reverse boycott, the movement against the Super League remains impressive. Almost in an instant, fans mobilized outside their clubs demanding that they pull out of what threatened to destroy football and it worked.
At its core, the Super League represents everything that is wrong with modern football. A blatant cash grab masqueraded as a way to solve the issues that hurt all clubs. It’s no surprise that the clubs that started this initiative represent the elite clubs hurting from their own financial issues.
Despite all their masking, fans see through the farce that is the Super League. However, it feels as if this time, it’ll be even harder to fight back against it.
Unfortunately, without the threat of expulsion from UEFA and FIFA, there is nothing holding clubs back. Domestic leagues could ban breakaway clubs, but given the ruling, there’s nothing to signal they can do to stop it. Everything’s clearing up for this project, despite the clear backlash from fans.
Fans can and will protest, but most clubs have already weathered larger issues without caring for fans. No matter how loud the protests, clubs barely seem to care about backlash until it affects them financially. Perhaps the only hope is that the financial side of the Super League doesn’t look as promising as it once did.
Fans often feel like pawns for the people who run their clubs, used only as consumers who exist to pay off debts. Solidarity is all that fans have and it’s what makes sports beautiful and worthwhile, especially in moments when fans can achieve something large.
The fan led movement against the Super League was, perhaps, one of the best moments in football over the past decade. It reminded us that solidarity is the most powerful force we have and can make an impact. Even when we face enormous odds, any semblance of hope for a better future can’t be given up on.
Featured image: Reuters