Traditional Meritocratic Football Wins (for Now)

Published on April 22nd, 2021

The failed (for now) European Super League was a blatant money-grab. Well that ended quickly, didn't it? Within about 48 hours of the announcement of a new European Super League led by 12 of Europe's biggest clubs, the league has completely dissolved under worldwide outrage. Almost every club has removed itself from the project, with Chelsea and Manchester City leading the way in England. The football world celebrated at defeating this cash grab by the owners, but some are wondering just how this "Americanization" came about and why so many were eager to join.

Part of this reason comes from the American owners of the clubs. 4 of the 12 clubs are owned by Americans. Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and AC Milan, with Liverpool and United being two of the biggest proponents of the Super League besides Real Madrid. The Glazer family have owned United since 2005 and have never been popular with Red Devil fans, while Stan Kroenke regularly is despised by Arsenal fans.

Another reason for this comparison with American sports is the type of league it was going to be. The founding clubs would never be able to get relegated, they would decide the rules of the league and who could join. Then they would split the profits, with wage caps and microphones on referees. Sounding familiar? Many point to the NFL as the system that the ESL was copying, with the similarities there for all to see.

However, considering that is not how football has ever worked in Europe, it met with considerable outrage and led to a coalition of the most unlikely sources. UEFA and FIFA are regularly accused by common fans of being corrupt and money-hungry (often with good reason), but they have never tried so blatant a grab as this new league.

Fortunately, traditional meritocratic football has won for the time being. At least, until the next money-grab from the ultra-rich owners like Florentino Perez is attempted.

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