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Announced on April 18th, the proposed annual club football competition was apparently borne out of irritation that UEFA wasn't capitalising on the full financial potential of the sport in Europe. As a result, twelve men's football clubs assured their commitment to the European Super League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan, Juventus, Milan, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid.
By April 21st, ten of these twelve had pulled out of the new association. Why? Well, nearly everyone expressed their outright dislike and disappointment for those who came up with it. Former Manchester United player Gary Neville called it "an act of pure greed," while UEFA and the football leagues of the countries involved in the Super League said it would ensure that the competition would not progress any further than its initial announcement. Rick Parry, chairman of the English Football League, described the Super League as a "fundamentally bad idea," but that the justifications behind creating a separate competition must be understood.
"What we do need to do is examine the fault lines that lead to it. We at the EFL say we need a fundamental reset of values... We need a reset in regards to how revenues are distributed as the pyramid is currently upside down," he said on The Today Programme. Though the reception to the idea couldn't have gone any worse if it was mailed to football fans' homes covered in killer bees, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli are still sure that the European Super League is the future of the sport.
In an interview with Corriere dello Sport, Agnelli said that football must up its game (so to speak) to draw young people away from gaming and towards spectating the sport. "The younger ones want big events and are not tied to elements of parochialism. My generation was much more so," he explained. "40% of 15-24 years old have no interest in football. We need a competition capable of opposing what they produce on digital platforms, transforming the virtual into real. Through FIFA you create your own competition, that competition has to be brought back to the real world. Let's leave out the effects of competition from the various Fortnite, Call of Duty etc, authentic catalysts of the attention of today's kids destined to be tomorrow's spenders."
He continued to say that "football is no longer a game but an industrial sector," and requires "strict economic and financial rules" in order to survive. If we keep up with Agnelli's comparison to Fortnite and Call of Duty, a ticket to see Real Madrid play Sevilla FC is €88. Alternatively, Fortnite and Warzone are free to play. The younger generations are the ones who have been hit the hardest by the pandemic, and it's likely that they haven't saved money specifically to go to matches, especially those taking place abroad. In any event, the European Super League looks to be lying dormant while the dust settles from the fallout over the sport.
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