I think everyone can agree that the past week has been one of the most angry, sad and relieving times to be a football fan.
In just a few days we’ve gone from the long-secretive Super League becoming a reality, protests outside grounds and social-media outrage, for clubs to take an exceptional u-turn, owners mumbling apologies under their breath and sending the proposal back into the ‘dark and mysterious’ category of football gossip.
These past few days have opened my eyes to the enormous amount of money involved in the so-called ‘working-class game’. From rich owners to player wages to TV subscriptions, money has had a significant influence on the aspects of football in the past three decades.
The Premier League has played a vital part in that, performing the original role of ‘proposed breakaway league’ which we’ve been very exposed to recently.
The Premier League, though it has had its obvious benefits for the English standard of play, has created an ongoing inequality between themselves and the EFL. Even between the ‘big six’ and the rest of the 14 clubs, there is a visible divide financially.
These are things people should be looking to change.
Though what we’ve seen this week is the power that fans still have within themselves. Since the Super League had been announced, almost everyone apart from the actual participants themselves were against the idea.
And people made that known online.
Mix that with protests at the likes of Stamford Bridge and we have caught the ‘terrible 12’ with their trousers down, retreating back to their mansions. The fans have realised their worth again, and now there should be change. The massive rejection of this blatant power grab has forced the owners to take a step back and realise that it is not what the fans want.
This also should be the time for supporters groups to carefully consider their next steps and to look to gain more of a say in their clubs.
For this argument we should look at Germany for assistance – the 50+1 rule. This rule states private investors of a German club in the Bundesliga are allowed no more than a 49pc share in the club. The rest of the club belongs to the supporter association.Embed from Getty Images
The Government, the FA and even UEFA should take notes, and I believe that a variant of this rule would be very beneficial for English and European football as a whole, while maintaining financial stability.
Miguel Delaney of The Independent made some very interesting and positive claims in a recent article, claiming that sources have told them that the Super League is no longer a blackmailing tool by Europe’s elite after their recent failed endeavour, and that UEFA are now able to take a dominant stance.
The leading clubs had held UEFA hostage, he added, and that the ‘cartel’ now possess little power after the failure.
UEFA and FIFA are not the victims of this matter though. Oh no.
We have seen things like the Qatar World Cup, corporate priority at major finals and the new ‘coefficient’ qualification system for the Champions League in 2024, with the latter meaning that two teams qualify by previous success, for example ‘the elite’.
Let me remind you of the ‘permanent members’ system of the ESL.
Money is still a big, big motivator in this sport, as we have seen in previous and also frequent scandals. It’s a sad truth, but nothing else matters when business is booming.
Things need to change. The battle was won this week, but the war is not over.
Don’t miss a thing
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox. It’s free!