By Michael Lewis
As you might have noticed, FrontRowSoccer.com hasn’t written a word about the proposed European Super League – at least until now.
After it was announced, I feared it would have been the type of story that would have been needed to be updated once an hour, there were so many reactions and moving parts.
Besides, I figured many news and sports websites, especially ones based in Europe would do a superior job on reporting on the significance and confusion about what a mess the Super League had caused.
And as quick it was foisted on us, it appears to be gone, history, at least for now.
About an hour, it was reported that the ESL appeared dead in the water as the six English clubs involved withdrew less than 48 hours after it was announced Sunday night.
If you have been following me on Twitter or Facebook, you already knew what I felt about the proposed league. I used the letter F as a verb, not a grade to describe my feelings.
I saw nothing but trouble with such a breakaway league, from players being banned from the World Cup to leagues being ripped apart.
I have covered enough soccer through the years – every level, from youth to high school to amateur to college to semi-pro to professional and international – to realize that each of those ….. are special. While we probably write more about the pro ranks on this website, I have an affinity to lower leagues, professional and amateur. As journalist, there are so many great stories there to tell the rest of the world.
When I traveled to England for the first time in 1982, I wrote a two-part series about two clubs in the lower reaches of the English game – Leyton Orient (then in the old third division, now League One) and Wimbledon (then in the old fourth division, now League Two; Wimbledon moved to Milton Keynes). Almost four decades after I wrote about the challenges facing those two clubs, they are still two of my favorite stories I have written, given the richness of the details about both organizations, from fans to the players and coaches).
I feared nothing but chaos facing the lower divisions not only in England, but other countries that had teams in the proposed ESL
Six English clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur – alongside three teams from Italy – AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus – and three from Spain – Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid – were going to join the new competition.
And it was a closed league, against many of the principles of European football. It has been compared to Major League Soccer, as the American pro soccer pyramid doesn’t have a promotion/relegation plan and probably won’t have one for many years.
So, why did they want to leave the UEFA Champions League?
Greed, simple greed.
Remember what the fictional Gordon Gekko said in the movie, Wall Street?
Greed is good.
I’ll just drop a letter from one of the words in the sentence. To many of these team’s billionaire owners, greed isn’t good, greed is god.
Now, that doesn’t mean UEFA comes clean out of this embarrassing mess. There likely is corruption in that organization. We’re just waiting for the next scandal.
But for better or worse, that this the devil with which we are familiar.
What is that old adage?
Dance with the devil you know.
Well, at least for now, that’s what I would prefer to do. UEFA’s new Champions League isn’t perfect, but I don’t think it will kill soccer, either.
And about JP Morgan Chase bank backing the ESL a $4.8 billion investment. So, it has that much money laying around that it can gamble on a new league? Now that it appears there will be no league, I wonder what the bank will do with those billions. It would be nice if it used it to help out some of its needy customers, wouldn’t it?