BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 19, 2021– There are reports of attempts being made by some of the top European clubs joining together to form a new “Super League,” whereby they would not have to worry about qualifying for the popular and lucrative Champions League each year. But there is much opposition from local football leagues, and even UEFA and FIFA are apparently not supporting the idea.
It’s a clash of football culture and business. The big, successful clubs make big money when they play each other, and much less, especially in television rights, when they have to play smaller, less popular and weaker clubs according to their local league fixtures. The big money is at the Champions League tournament; but for the big clubs, there is always the risk that they would not make it in a given year. This new Super League, if successful, would remove any relegation risk, and guarantee them their place in this top-level competition each year.
In our CONCACAF region, Belizean football clubs are quite familiar with the pecking order, and the reluctance of “big” clubs to engage with the “minnows” in competition, not for fear of losing, which is hardly a consideration, but because of the big reduction in revenue from fan attendance at their home games against weak opponents. CONCACAF has managed to get around the problem, while still allowing the weaker clubs to play a few games in group series, rather than face immediate elimination as in times past when they had to first clash with one of the “powerhouse” teams. Those big teams have therefore been given a bye to the second leg of the qualification tournament for the Concacaf Champions League, while the weaker clubs have to battle through a group phase among themselves, with only the top few allowed to enter the second round along with the big squads.
In the various European football leagues – the English Premier League (EPL), Italy’s Serie A, Spain’s La Liga, and others – they face the same dilemma; but the proposed European Super League (ESL) apparently wanted to go a big step further, but have run up against a major backlash from their various local league fans. The relegation system is at the foundation of the various European local leagues, and it provides much excitement both at the top and the bottom levels of their competitions, as new clubs strive to enter the higher leagues, and other clubs battle to avoid relegation. While in Belize, pundits have been lobbying for us to employ the relegation system to spark more interest and competitiveness in our competitions, a group of top clubs in the EPL, La Liga and Serie A have attempted to completely avoid the relegation system and create this exclusive European Super League (ESL).