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The plan for the European Super League has collapsed. But it might not be dead forever

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Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne celebrates after scoring his side’s fifth goal with team-mates Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on March 10, 2021 in Manchester, England.

Clive Brunskill | Getty Images Sport | Getty Images

LONDON – While the football community celebrated the failed launch of the European Super League last week, the motivating factors behind the proposal have not gone away.

Now known as the ‘dirty dozen’, 12 powerful European football clubs attempted to form their own closed league, which was destroyed days later due to pressure from supporters, authorities and governments.

These teams, especially in Spain, continue to heal debt induced by the pandemic, while the incomes of many clubs around the world have been hit after virus restrictions forced matches to be played behind closed doors – evaporating income of the day.

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What happens after?

Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid, who was one of the clubs involved, told Spanish media that the project, or a very similar project, will continue to move forward.

His Barcelona counterpart, Joan Laporta, stressed that ESL clubs were open to dialogue with UEFA, the European governing body, with the aim of relaunching the project.

Simon Chadwick, Eurasian sports director at Emlyon Business School, believes suggestions that the Super League has collapsed are naive, telling UKTN that Europe will get a “super league under a different name”, adding that it’s “a case of when, not if.”

Chadwick argues that the coming years will bring more polarization and industrial concentration, with the big clubs poised to rack up more power, and the gap between them and the smaller clubs widening further.

American inspiration

That, he says, will be seen through how big clubs look to develop new revenue streams, with top-spreading to feature prominently.

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He compares the recent NFL TV rights deal, worth around $ 110 billion over 11 years, to the English Premier League’s current domestic broadcast deal worth $ 4.7 billion. pounds sterling ($ 6.6 billion), obtained in 2018 and which is expected to run out this year.

While the NFL has grown in popularity outside the United States in recent years, it is still eclipsed globally by the English Premier League, with the UEFA Champions League also having an avid global audience.

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Tech companies have joined bidding wars for the Premier League’s broadcast rights in recent auctions, easing logistical hurdles to global distribution.

New owners

The fallout from the Super League proposals has also seen some fans call up new club owners.

Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek has expressed interest in buying Arsenal, telling UKTN he has secured the funds for a potential bid for the north London club.

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But current owner Stan Kroenke, who also owns the NFL franchise the LA Rams, has ruled out any sale, stressing he would not take any offers.

Meanwhile, Jim O’Neill, chairman of UK think tank Chatham House and former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, and hedge fund manager Paul Marshall have called on Manchester United owners the Glazer family to reduce their stake. majority to a maximum of 49.9% in order to allow a larger group of investors to have a say in the management of the club.

Chadwick played down the prospect of current owners looking to sell, adding that “if this was such an unprofitable and difficult business that was not producing the kind of return owners were looking for,” then the owners of Manchester United , the Glazers, would have withdrawn a long time ago.


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