European super league

Why all the outrage over the European Super League?

Anything been happening in football in the past couple of weeks? No? Moving on then… Hang about though. The doomed relegation-free European Super League may have had a shorter life than the average mayfly but it generated the level of fury produced by poking a stick in a hornets’ nest. How justified was all the outrage? The idea that clubs such as City, Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea and the rest of the ‘Shameful Six’ are friendly neighbourhood outfits where you could run into Chopper Harris down the pub has long gone. These are huge international businesses run by Arab rulers, Russian billionaires and US hedge funds. They might have backed down

The unsavoury truth about American sport

New York What follows has been covered ad nauseam, but I wonder why people were surprised at the planned breakaway football Super League? Professional sport in Europe now follows the American way, which means that money comes before tradition, hometown loyalty and the fans — the shmucks who live and die for their teams. The bottom line is what sport in this country is all about, and European football has a lot to learn from the closed shop that has made zillions of dollars for US sport. I’ll keep it brief. American football, baseball and basketball teams are privately owned, and no matter how badly they perform, they cannot be

Boris’s football socialism

It was once my job to brief Boris on football. Then he was very much a free marketeer, now it is amazing to see that he wants to play the socialist sports lord, a task that defeated Tony Blair. The briefing took place on a Sunday afternoon in September 1998 when news emerged that Manchester United’s directors were planning to sell the club to Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB. Boris had decided to devote his column to it. His problem was he did not know anything about the deal, or for that matter much about English football, and as the chief sports news correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, he rang me to

How the Super League sabotaged itself

‘So you’re telling me they’re wetting the bed because we’re suggesting the same teams should compete in a competition in which the same teams always compete?’ It’s not hard to see how the owners of the European Super League clubs, the Americans particularly, might be confused by the splenetic reaction of English football fans to their proposal to update the annual Champions League megabucks jamboree – a tournament that at the sharp end has for decades featured pretty much exclusively the same teams. Instead of being able to point that out, now the wantaway billionaires must grovel and debase themselves. Liverpool owner John Henry has even released a video not

There’s nothing wrong with foreign owned football

Many are blaming the failed European Super League on foreign owners, presenting it as a greed fuelled attempt by overseas banks and businessmen to ruin the beautiful game. The BBC’s political correspondent Ian Watson framed the disagreement as ‘a battle between football fans on the one hand and the predominantly overseas owners of big clubs on the other’. Similarly, the Football Supporters Association has said the proposals were being pushed by ‘foreign owners who are basically asset managers who can see a way of making massive amounts of money out of this’. There’s nothing inherently evil about foreign owners of football clubs, or foreign owners of any other business for

The two elites squeezing the life out of football

So, all of a sudden the chattering classes care about football fans? Yesterday, the kind of people who usually wring their hands about the vulgar, tattooed hordes who pack into grounds and chant unspeakable things at the opposing team, posed as the champions of fans. A European Super League would be a contemptuous assault on the salt-of-the-earth football-watchers who are the heart and soul of every great team, they said. Politicians, sports commentators, and Guardianistas — they were all at it; all waving a metaphorical scarf for the good ol’ English footie fan currently being betrayed by filthy rich oligarchs who see football as little more than a money-making machine.

Why are politicians picking on the football Super League?

The collective gasp of outrage – led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson – at the decision of a few wealthy clubs around Europe to announce the creation of a European Super League is either naive or hypocritical. Because the idea that professional football is some kind of social enterprise owned and run by fans and communities might have been true 100 years ago, but in recent decades it has been a rapacious, commercial enterprise motivated mostly by money. It is quite difficult to see why the cartelisation of football should be what jolts our political leaders to man the barricades And does anyone think FIFA, UEFA and the Premier League

James Kirkup

Football’s Super League row can save capitalism from itself

I am not a football fan. Reactions to plans for a European super-league remind me why. According to the BBC ‘critics say the move is being driven purely by money.’ Whereas in the prelapsarian days of, say, last week, professional football was all about craft and community? Free marketeers should be relaxed about this. You could argue that the super league members’ decision is a matter for them and them alone. They are private businesses supplying a product – entertainment – to paying customers in a market. If they want to supply that product via slightly different arrangements, why should anyone else care? If the public anger in today’s headlines