On Sunday, 12 of the richest clubs in European soccer announced the formation of a new Super League that will feature 15 permanent “founding” clubs and a rotation of five clubs each year that can qualify. It is a brazen cash grab from owners looking to ensure they get the massive payouts the Champions League provides each year, without the risk of not making it into the Champions League off merit — as some of the clubs in the Super League didn’t this year.
The announcement was immediately decried by, well, just about everyone in the sport, from fans, media, leagues, UEFA, coaches, and other teams. The idea of creating a closed league goes against the tradition of European soccer, which already favors the richest teams who can pay the best players but this takes away even the slightest hopes from smaller teams of getting that seat at the table. The coming fight from leagues, UEFA, FIFA, and fans is going to be fascinating to watch, and it’s rare to see such universal disdain for something from fans all over, including of the teams involved.
Among the most prominent die-hard here stateside is James Corden, who used his platform on The Late Late Show to explain to the American audience what makes this Super League so “disgusting” as he put it, and why he believes it will ruin the sport as we know it.
The comparison to if famous actors started their own Oscars to guarantee nominations is a funny one, but also pretty accurate and a helpful tool for a non-sports audience to understand what happens. Overall, though, it is a passionate plea from Corden, who seems resigned to the fact that this is happening, for fans to, if nothing else, never forget what they’ve done to smaller clubs and how they’ve tried to hide behind the pandemic as justification for this move. He points out the history of the sport and how so many of these clubs were started by workers and have long, rich histories in these communities, and how this threatens to take money away from all of them and funnel it further to the top teams. Financial inequities have always existed but this will make it even moreso and the future of all these teams and leagues are now in flux.