FIFA threat to World Cup players due to Super League
The revolution is coming. There is nothing the football associations can do to prevent this, that much is clear. A European super league feels inevitable.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that plans for such a breakaway continental competition, an alternative to the UEFA Champions League promoted by mega-clubs Real Madrid and Manchester United, are so advanced that funding is already being sought to Each of the 20 prospective members to be paid will receive a fee of $ 425 million for their engagement.
This new league has been rumored for a quarter of a century and has been pushed by the biggest and richest clubs to get more of the enormous wealth generated by their head-to-head encounters. The Champions League has helped enrich the big clubs, but also finances UEFA, Europe’s governing body, which redistributes some of that money to its member states and the base game. The big clubs have used the opportunity of a super league as a club to get more and more money and guarantees from UEFA over the years. No wonder this latest move is taking place in the middle of negotiations for a revised Champions League.
But this time around, the proposal to create a permanent class of elite teams – either 20 permanent clubs or 15 and five qualifiers – seems so close that it has alarmed UEFA and FIFA enough that they are creating threats.
FIFA and its six regional governing bodies have issued a statement stating that any player or club appearing in such a breakaway league will be excluded from competitions held by these organizations. This means that such defectors would no longer be entitled to participate in Champions League or national team tournaments such as the World Cup or the European Championship. However, they could stay in their home leagues unless they decide otherwise.
This is how you know that FIFA is powerless, that UEFA is powerless and that they are at the mercy of the clubs. Their bark has no bite.
Initially, the clubs would be happy not to have to release their players for national teams. The clubs pay the salaries – national teams mostly give relatively modest performance bonuses – and suffer from the effects of injuries. For their part, players might be disappointed in missing out on World Cups, although plausibly, it might also come as a relief to some of them.
Oh, and the clubs couldn’t compete in the Club World Cup either. What she doesn’t mind when a super league generates several hundred million dollars per club, as planned.
But it’s a threat that FIFA could never carry out. It’s a completely hollow threat. Because if the biggest clubs in the world actually break away from UEFA’s elite club competition and make their players ineligible for the World Cup, this tournament would lose almost all of its star power. Rare is the player of a caliber who is capable of playing on the largest stage in the game and who is not yet employed at any of these mega clubs.
FIFA would devour their Crown Jewel event just to take a stand and cut their nose off to piss their face. A world championship without stars is not a world championship at all, it’s just a few national B-teams that play a summer tournament. A World Cup without Messi and Ronaldo and Mbappe and Neymar would feel out of wedlock. The FIFA Club World Cup would also implode without Real Madrid and Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus taking part.
The rush to a super league appears to have been fueled by the pandemic that has cost the big clubs hundreds of millions in lack of revenue. What was the old saying about not wasting a crisis? But it was always likely that we would end up here at some point. Without some mechanisms to contain the runaway capitalism of football – after UEFA’s Financial Fair Play program to limit large external investments was found to be toothless – the rich and famous would never turn away from the path to maximum wealth and fame. This is all part of England’s biggest clubs proposing a program to cement their own influence in the Premier League in order to get a payout to the smaller ones.
However, the proposed reform for the Champions League gives the big clubs much of what they want, generates more revenue, and makes it harder for legacy teams to get knocked out. Still, they could just do it alone.
The governing bodies lost this battle. All that is left for them to do is express outrage and reasonably accuse the powerful clubs of selfishness. But they are not going to convince anyone that they are effectively euthanizing the few contests that would make them money.
Nothing prevents the clubs from doing what they want. You are responsible now.
Leander Schaerlaeckens is a columnist at Emox News and a lecturer in sports communications at Marist College. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.
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