A European Super League would have been a “disaster” for football, the Westminster Chaplain for Sport has said, after controversial plans fell through.
Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – dubbed the ‘Big Six’ or the ‘self-proclaimed Super Six’ – had been among 12 clubs who agreed to join the proposed European Super League (ESL), alongside European giants AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
The ESL said the founders had agreed to establish a ‘new midweek competition’ with teams continuing to ‘compete in their respective national leagues’. The founding clubs would also receive €3.5 billion to ‘support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the Covid pandemic’.
However, the plans were met with unified condemnation, with many accusing the clubs of greed and a lack of integrity and the backlash led to all six English clubs backing out just days after the initial announcement.
Chaplain for Sport Mgr Vladimir Felzmann joined in with the criticism, accusing clubs of putting money on a pedestal, prioritising it over football itself.
“Crises and crossroads reveal priorities,” he told The Catholic Universe. “Alas, as happens so often, money trumps other considerations.
“A Super League might be great for generating wealth but it would be a disaster for the whole organic financial structure of the beautiful game.
“Were the FA to organise a national referendum, the ‘Super Six’ might see they do not have a democratic mandate for independence.”
Football authorities, fans, players and even Prince William and politicians, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, hit out at the proposed ESL, saying it was driven purely by greed, would destroy domestic leagues and was against the integrity of the sport.
Unlike the Champions League, which requires all teams to qualify, the ESL would have been made up of 20 teams, including the same 15 teams each year, with the remaining five qualifying annually.
The announcement led to dedicated fans and players – both former and current – criticising their clubs for their role in the ESL.
Uefa, Fifa, the FA and the Premier League had warned that clubs joining the ESL ‘will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams’.
Picture: Fans make their views clear outside Elland Road ahead of Liverpool’s game with Leeds United.