National Football Leagues Ponder Next Moves After Super League Collapses 

Now that plans to create a European Super League comprising 12 of the continent’s elite clubs have collapsed, officials from the English, Italian and Spanish leagues are considering what to do in the aftermath.Six clubs from Britain (Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea), three from Spain (Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid) and three from Italy (AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus) signed up for the breakaway European Super League, whose formation was announced Monday.Hours after that announcement, however, several English teams announced they were no longer going to take part. The idea was completely dropped within 48 hours, driven largely by fan outrage.’Dirty dozen’Fans called the 12 teams in the Super League “the dirty dozen.” They were upset that teams would not have to win games to play in the league’s tournament — their places would be guaranteed. To play in the Champions League, teams must do well the year before.England’s Premier League is looking at possibly sanctioning club officials in the breakaway teams, The Associated Press reported. Officials are also looking at removing club executives from key league positions.The league could also consider expelling teams that try to break away.Tottenham fans protest the planned creation of a European Super League, outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton in London, April 21, 2021.Most of the British teams have apologized to fans.The Italian soccer federation said it would not punish Italian teams involved in the breakaway, saying it could not punish something that didn’t happen.The president of Spain’s LaLiga said Spanish teams would probably not be punished.”The most important thing is these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans,” Javier Tebas said in Madrid on Thursday. “Rather than sanctions, we are looking at protective measures so that this doesn’t happen again. They haven’t abandoned LaLiga. They abandoned the idea of European competition.”European Super League organizers said the new competition would rival but not replace existing domestic leagues and European tournaments, such as the UEFA Champions League.Motivation? MoneySports finance analyst Borja Garcia of Britain’s Loughborough University said the primary motivation for the new league was money.”Football has never been a very good business for club owners until a few years ago,” Garcia told VOA. “But now, of course, comes the pandemic. Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid — almost every club in Europe and around the world — are in massive debt. But the big clubs are in more debt because they have more salaries to pay. They depend more on audiences.”So, if I had to pick one [reason], I think it is indeed the level of debt that the pandemic has created in European football. But probably it is fair to say that that is not the cause of everything, but rather, an accelerator.”

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