12 of the biggest football teams in the world have all agreed to break away to form the European Super League and it has caused quite an uproar among fans and pundits.
The European Super League has already been met with overwhelmingly negative responses from all quarters. Several players have raised their voices against it and fans and pundits have been absolutely raging.
It's a move that reeks of greed and one that threatens to further the gap between the game and the fans. The European Super League is not just a break away from traditional formats, it's a departure from the culture that has made football the 'beautiful game' as we call it.
The elitist undertones of the European Super League are hard to miss as well. They have announced the format of the tournament via their official website but what are the true repercussions of this? Let's take a look at five ways in which European Super League can change football forever.
#5 UEFA Champions League as we know it could end because of the European Super League
The European Super League is being touted as a replacement to the UEFA Champions League.
The argument that the big clubs are proffering is that in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic where clubs have to rely solely on broadcasting rights as the main source of matchday income, they have to have more attractive fixtures if they want big paydays.
The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are all in poor condition financially and they are willing to sweat it out for every penny that is available. However, what this means is that the Champions League will be entirely stripped of its sheen and it will become a secondary competition without the European giants.
The history and legacy of the the Champions League (or the European Cup as it was known in the past), where dreams come true and the improbable and the nearly impossible happen, will all be reduced to nothing with the traditional powerhouses moving away.
Real Madrid have won the Champions League 13 times. AC Milan have won seven and Liverpool have won six. It's the pinnacle of club football. Its legacy and prominence are all set to be brought to naught. Heartbreaking, isn't it?
#4 Player and agent power reduces
As a direct consequence of the European giants breaking away to form the European Super League, player and agent power will be reduced to a great extent. It's simple. The wealthiest clubs are making this move to ensure they get paid more than everyone else.
It has already been proven that players have no say over the direction that a club is planning to take. Now on top of that, there will be limited options in front of a player seeking a move as he will only be able to get high wages at one of the clubs that's taking part in the Super League.
As such, there is not much the player's agent will be able to help with either. For better or for worse, the power in the hands of the player and the agent will take a massive hit.
#3 Salary cap
Via the European Super League, the biggest clubs in Europe are trying to cash in on their popularity to receive bigger TV payouts by automatically assuming the position and prestige of elite European football with a sort of safety net around them.
Going by the manner of the text used in the announcement, the ESL seems to be hinting at introducing salary caps for players akin to the system they have in NBA. The fact is that these European giants are going to be in the European Super League every year and the revenue flowing out of it is theirs for the taking.
And with top players aware of the fact that they won't be getting big paycheques elsewhere, they will want to stick around and the owners will pump less money into maintaining their squads because the profits will find their pockets regardless.
#2 No relegation, no promotion in the European Super League
As per the initial announcement, the European Super League will eventually have 20 teams. The teams will be divided into two groups of ten and each team will play all the other teams in their group twice, once at home and once away from home.
Subsequently, the top eight teams across the two groups will make it to the knockout stages. The interesting thing to note here is that when teams underperform, they have nothing to lose as they will remain part of the league no matter what happens.
There is no qualification, relegation or promotion for the 15 founding members of the European Super League. It really is a bubble of football clubs seeking to exist independently. But it comes at the cost of the spirit of competition. What is a sport if it's not competitive?
#1 Shorter football matches
There is a good chance that we'll be subjected to shorter football matches as well. Sigh. Yes, that's something that could very well happen. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has already floated it as a suggestion when talking in detail about the European Super League.
It makes sense from where they're sitting. Going by how reliant they are on broadcasting rights, the club owners will be looking to maximize their income in all manner possible.
In today's world, where immediacy has become the norm, the owners could very well make a decision to shorten football matches to make them more entertaining and thereby attract more viewers. This worked for cricket, didn't it? 20-20 cricket is thriving but football doesn't work like that, does it?