European Super League needs English clubs' support, claims finance expert

By Sports Desk December 23, 2023

The European Super League needs English clubs more than they need the breakaway competition, says football finance expert Dan Plumley.

The European Super League was initially announced back in April 2021, with 12 of the continent's biggest clubs announcing their intention to join. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all agreed to participate.

However, a fan backlash eventually forced nine of the clubs to back down, including all six English teams, and the Super League looked to be a thing of the past.

A ruling this week may have given it a second life, though, with the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg deciding FIFA and UEFA "abused a dominant position" in blocking the Super League.

A new proposal was swiftly announced, but all six English clubs invited to join rejected the request.

Plumley believes the Super League would need the support of English clubs to get off the ground, though he did warn their involvement could still be a possibility despite the heavy opposition seen after the initial launch in 2021.

When asked if the Super League required the English clubs' involvement, Plumley told Stats Perform: "Yes, I think that's absolutely the way to position it at the moment.

"And I'm not saying that it would never happen. The Premier League clubs don't really need to go following the Super League, but the Super League would be better with English clubs.

"I don't think the Super League idea is ever going to be fully dead in the water. I think we'll see it in some way, shape or form, and maybe it will happen.

"When you're talking about lots of money on the table, a lot of clubs will often look for the best deal on the table and if that is a European Super League in the future, that's when heads might start to be turned.

"But the English situation is a bit of a problem for them, because you're talking about wanting the biggest clubs in the world to be part of it. And there are some very big English clubs that have already ruled themselves out."

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of the clubs spearheading the Super League project, with the latter's president Florentino Perez hailing the ECJ's ruling as a "great day for the history of football".

Plumley feels the poor financial situations of Barcelona and Madrid are a key reason behind their Super League support, as well as the recent power shift towards the Premier League in terms of revenue and talent.

"I think, certainly for them, the driving force over the last couple of years has been financial," Plumley stated. "We know the financial situation at Barcelona has not been great. We know Real Madrid have had problems as well.

"I think the other thing with those two clubs that we've seen is a real stubbornness to dig their heels in. They wanted to be proved right and in a way that verdict does prove them right. Part of their argument was that UEFA and FIFA were acting unlawfully by blocking it.

"I think what's hurt Barcelona and Real Madrid along the way is all the other clubs that have moved away from the project.

"I think it's symptomatic also of Barca and Real's position in Spain. Yes, they are dominant, but where are they seeing the growth?

"I don't think they're seeing as much growth as potentially the Premier League's got to offer and those are little things where it becomes about, 'well, now I'm going to look at my own self-interest'. You can see how they've tried to leverage that through the Super League.

"At the end of the day it comes down to finance, and certainly in the early stages of it, it was all about money for those two clubs. Don't get me wrong, it probably still is, but I think a lot of it then was they felt like they needed to see the case through because they dug their heels in."

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