Six leading English football teams are among 12 clubs that have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL).
The move is motivated by profit following a year of lockdown restrictions that have strangled some of the club’s income.
The world’s 20 richest football clubs are on course to miss out on almost £2 billion in revenue by the end of this season because of the pandemic.
Empty stadiums mean they haven’t raked in ticket sales, and some clubs have had to pay back broadcast rights fees for games that were cancelled.
Another three clubs from Europe are also expected to join the league.
The announcement was greeted with fury by many fans raging at the corporate interests and super-rich club owners.
But football was handed to big business interests at the expense of fans a long time ago. That sell-out makes the ESL League shift possible.
Arsenal fan Dave told Socialist Worker, “I’m so angry to hear that club owners are sitting down with others to plan the Super League.
“Principles are squashed in the pursuit of business culture which stole the game from the working class.”
Liverpool fan Heather told Socialist Worker, “Liverpool constantly appropriate the idea that we’re the ‘workers’ club’. This is despite the fact we’re owned by multi-billionaire company, Fenway Sports Group.”
The new venture is financed by investment banking company JP Morgan, which has provided roughly £4.3 billion in debt finance. The Premier League denounced the move.
But that’s rich coming from an organisation that’s in hock to mega-business interests.
Uefa, European football’s governing body, also attacked the ESL plan. But that’s because Uefa has its own scheme.
Uefa’s annual conference on Monday was set to approve radical changes in the format of its competition. These were to include 100 more matches each season and more money-spinning ties between top teams.
The ESL may turn out to be a bargaining chip to influence the eventual outcome.
Club owners are also worried about forthcoming TV deals. There have been big reductions in the value of TV contracts in Italy and France this year. The Premier League will start the auction for its 2022-2025 broadcasting rights later this year.
Football clubs’ relationship with big business and capitalism means that all key decisions are motivated by profit—not what the fans want.