The Football Association (FA) has opened an inquiry into the Big 6 English Clubs for attempting to form a breakaway European Super League (ESL). In the month of April, 12 clubs (six from England) announced that they would set up a separate 20-team Super League after breaking away from the current European competition. and setting up their own 20-team Super League. However, the plan faced significant backlash from supporters, players, and some politicians and came crashing down just after just two days.
The six teams from England involved in ESL were Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, and Tottenham. The governing body in England has asked them to hand over the evidence of participation when they signed up for this project. Apparently, 9 teams have left the competition including all 6 English clubs.
What is European Super League and Why It is Facing Criticism?
The concept of Super League was essentially a money grab attempt engineered by 12 of the richest clubs in the world but mainly led by Real Madrid’s president Florentino Perez. It was proposed as a “closed” tournament in which only the founding clubs could join and share profits every year, regardless of their performance in official competitions.
The elitist president is confident that European Super League will happen one way or the other despite clubs announcing to leave the competition. Perez claimed that these clubs had a binding contract and they falsified their decision to leave because of the pressure.
The idea was totally contrary to the traditional way of European football which requires the teams to win several matches before competing in continental competitions like the Champions League or Europa League. They have to stay in top positions and avoid relegation to a lower and less profitable league.
The reason why this concept faced resistance is that promotion and relegation are integral parts of football for ages. Most supporters even consider them as foundations of this sport. This system is somewhat foreign to many Americans that have recently stepped foot in European football. A popular opinion is that these American owners of English clubs were the first to accept the idea in England when Perez and others proposed.
Supporters fear that English football might become like the American National Football League (NFL) where there is no concept of promotion and relegation. These owners were Joel Glazer of Manchester United, John Henry of Liverpool, and Stan Kroenke of Arsenal.
Supporters Protest Across England
These three chairs were the main targets of fan fury during massive protests. Last month, thousands of Arsenal fans irked by the decision of club owner Stan Kroenke (also owns NFL’s Rams in the US), also protested outside Emirates Stadium in London.
Man U’s Glazer family in particular received the most hate from supporters as this protest from Sunday, 2nd April showed. Interestingly, the fans were not specific to the ESL fiasco but wanted to get rid of the Glazers once and for all. Manchester fans love their team, stadium, and history religiously which is what made the protest so dramatic.
Chelsea also had a run-in with its angry supporters at Stamford Bridge in London. The bus that was containing players had to check-in for the match but the demonstrations were blocking its path. Ex-goal keeper of Chelsea and current Performance Advisor, Petr Cech had to come out and beg fans to let the bus in.
Supporters of all English teams were demanding the same thing which was to sell the clubs. These demonstrations were seemed to be highly inspired by the Black Lives Matter protests against capitalistic oppression, racism, and invasion.
Sanctioning the Big 6
Although many club owners have attempted to defuse the situation by apologizing for creating such a mess. However, supporters were unable to accept their apologies and FA also wanted to get to the bottom of this. Fans mostly wanted all the rich clubs to be relegated from their respective competitions so they compete in the smaller league with fewer profits.
The fans have played a key role in preventing European Super League from happening yet, FA acknowledged that but also condemned the violent behavior of some fans during the protests. So far it is not clear if FA will punish the Big 6 like fans desire or some other way. UEFA (Union of European Football Association) has also announced that all 12 teams will face consequences. It also said that English Big 6 might face lighter Punishment because they were first to pull out of European Super League.
However, English authority, FA planned otherwise. It announced to hold the English clubs accountable for even thinking about joining European Super League. English authorities have also been discussing legislation with the UK government to prevent the creation of new rival competitions in the future.