Contrary to popular belief, there were actually some people who weren’t against the idea of a European Super League. Many players and fans came out in disgust amid a backlash from fans, however, we do know that not everyone was so against the concept. A YouGov survey found that 76% of fans strongly opposed the league, yet 14% voted in support. So who were these people and what was their reasoning behind their support when the whole world was so strongly condemning such an idea?
It seems that there are still three clubs not backing down from the league. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are still standing firm in their support. Although not yet confirmed, Juventus may have recently admitted defeat by dropping out after news that UEFA announced they are planning a hefty punishment with threats to impose a two year Champions league ban. Despite the threats, these clubs are still persevering, but why when there is so much criticism?
Barcelona have been very clear in their stance. They claim “it would have been a historical error not to join” the now doomed league. They diverted attention away from their position by instead claiming that “there is a need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football”. Although we can all agree there is improvement to be made, this doesn’t hide the fact that this team is still rooting for the ESL. Will they eventually succumb to the pressures like Juventus or will they stand firm like their spanish counterparts in Real Madrid?
Their resilience may be, in part, down to an initial Spanish court decision that has ruled that UEFA and FIFA cannot block teams from joining the super league. Bar Atletico Madrid, both Real Madrid and Barcelona aren’t budging. As the news began to break, english fans began to revolt, but spanish fans responded somewhat differently. Not by any means in an approving manner, but their voices were much more demure. It seems, Real Madrid fans weren’t too concerned about the impact on smaller clubs, with many coming out in support, looking forward to a bigger competition of which they might have more control.
It also seems that clubs believed they had the backing of FIFA. A recent New York Times article claims that FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, was aware of plans to develop a super league and had been involved in talks about lending the support of the association, although FIFA have declined to comment on these revelations. It seems as though we, the fans, only know a small part of the picture.
What we do know is that most fans were absolutely outraged by such an elitist kind of league. The impact would not only be felt by smaller teams but it would go against everything football ever stood for. Following the news, quickly, teams began to drop out as it became clear that their fans would not support such a move. If we are to ever fix the real problems in football, creating a divide driven by sheer greed will never be the solution. Fans are at the real heart of this sport and club owners and players alike know this.