The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

European Super League

Wenger says it’s coming.

This is one of those instances where I think Arsene Wenger is absolutely 100% correct, and still out in front of the rest of the sport. His point about the financials of the game is one of the two major reasons for the likelihood of a Super League, and the reality of clubs being run on a world-wide basis for profit maximization by increasingly sophisticated executives (men like, say, Ivan Gazidis were not a major part of this sport 20 years ago) points very strongly in that direction. Additionally, assuming such a league were set up as an outgrowth of the Champions League- and thus in conjunction with currently existing league structures- it could also do a great deal to remedy the issue of stratification currently affecting almost all of the major national leagues. There’s always been dominant clubs; but now in Spain, England and Italy it’s a remarkable and shocking occurrence when one of the 2 or 3 really huge clubs per country win something. A super league with a relegation/promotion mechanism gives a chance for clubs below that level to be successful on a national basis with the future hope of international success, and would result in vastly more competitive- and thus interesting- national league play.

The really notable part is how few arguments there are against the concept. It would be a major revenue producer for huge clubs, probably also a revenue-producer for other clubs, it would represent a logical development of the league structure into an era of easier travel, international media coverage and clubs with world-wide support, and it would also create a top-level league with a remarkably high quality of play. With due respect to those smaller sides, I’d rather watch Real Madrid and Manchester United play each other twice a year than watch them beat up on Sunderland or Almeria in one-sided games with little drama; I would also be a lot more interested in Sunderland vs., say, Everton if it had English title implications. It’s hard to see who the losers would be except maybe FIFA and those who want to see international play as the primary expression of the game. To put the objections into perspective, take a look at this from Le Grove which misses the mark on a variety of levels. Players would be no more tired than American sports professionals who travel 3,000 miles from California to New York for games, and part of the point of a Super League would be to put all the huge-spending teams in competition with each other, thus neutralizing their spending from a competitive standpoint to the greatest degree possible. If anyone knows of a better argument against the idea I’d love to see it, but most of the ones I’ve run across have been at about that level.

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August 18, 2009 - Posted by | Other Soccer, The Arsenal | , ,

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