European Super League Is Here: A UEFA Horror Show Looms

Whatever benchmarks the Arsenal manager is set for the 2020/21 season, qualifying for European football will be the easiest to achieve. According to a report in the Independent, the European Clubs Association is set to be given the rubber-stamp from UEFA for a third club competition.

There’s no mention of a ‘super league’ in the report, which suggests it is to be a junior or peer competition for the Europa League. Long-time readers are familiar with my motto, ‘Frankly, there’s nothing new in modern football’. Well, frankly there is nothing new in modern football; we used to have three European club competitions.

Then at the turn of the century, a UEFA marketing suit decided that the Cup Winners Cup wasn’t making enough money and that combining it with the UEFA Cup was a really good way of making even more money. It seems they now think that adding another competition is a great way of making money as well. Do try to keep up.

Did I mention the words ‘super league’ not being there? European Clubs Association executive Andrea Agnelli rather gave the game away when he said,

“Pending approval of the Uefa executive committee, the ‘green light’ has been given to introduce a third competition.

“This would bring the overall number of clubs in European competition to 96, as of the 2021/22 season.”

96, you say? That’s 48 in the Europa League with 32 in the Champions League; 48 + 32 = 80, leaving sixteen teams. What format could a sixteen-team competition take which would generate bucketloads of cash for UEFA and the clubs but not overly damage the Champions League?

You’re way ahead of me. Sixteen teams playing thirty-midweek fixtures equals a licence to print your own money. It’s twice as big as the Champions League; farewell to two top-flight teams and a cup competition.

Suits You Sir?

It’s an opportunity to announce a complete overhaul of current competitions. Turning them into knockout competitions won’t happen, with UEFA only interested in swelling their coffers rather than what is best for football. The two aren’t mutually inclusive ideas. Their obsession with leagues models points to a Super League rather than adding a new competition for the third-placed teams in Europa League groups.

So where do Arsenal fit in? Assuming the top teams from each of the major leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France – take five places, who else would be involved? The quarter-finalists from the previous season’s Champions League? That’s 13; add the Europa League winners, plus, say Portugal and one other. I’m just floating the idea.

Or the top two from those five leagues and then six other champions? A lop-sided contrived format whichever way you look at it. And something UEFA specialises in.

The question is where Arsenal fit into all this. A decade ago, we’d have a strong case for the Super League. Now, we’re hoping it pushes us into the Champions League which will have marginally more pull than the Europa League. Although, it could be that we still qualify for that which would ram home how low we’ve sunk. Or you could look at it as telling you what our current level is, which is a more ‘positive’ way of addressing these issues.

Whatever you choose, it’s still not top of the pops, champions or anything shiny; I don’t think challenging for the top spot is within our grasp for several seasons. The eighteen-year cycle is in operation and signals the title is due 2021-22, which is just in time for another positive spin on the situation.

This optimism thingy could take a hold, you know. If only those pesky ECA/UEFA suits hadn’t meddled, I’da got away with it.

Grey and Uninspiring

We’ll find out soon enough whether the dystopian future I’ve laid out is true. The Indescribalyboring unsurprisingly doesn’t speculate but sometimes you have to unleash your inner tabloid.

This is football for sponsors, for the television companies. It isn’t for the fans and isn’t for football at any other level beyond the elite. Which is who the ECA represent. Somewhere in the past, there were only 92 clubs in their group and the inner cabal is resurfacing.

Expecting them to do anything other than voting for their own benefit is like expecting turkeys to vote for Christmas.

’til Tomorrow.

21 thoughts on “European Super League Is Here: A UEFA Horror Show Looms

  1. We’ve lost so much status in the late Wenger years relative to rivals and doped up clubs. Despite having large resources which dwarf the rest of Europe, our performance in CL and Europa has been so disappointing. We are wealthier than any Spanish club except Real and Barca, any French club bar PSG, any of the Italian clubs, any of the German clubs bar Bayern and yet Atlético, Monaco, Milan, BvB, Juventus have done much better in Europe than us. I think we would not be invited to a Super League at present given our decline. And ever since Dein left, we have lacked a credible voice in those councils and circles of European club power to make the case for Arsenal either.

    We need Emery to get us into the top 4 this season, but the approach he is taking seems a harder road that presumes we have the luxury of 3-4 years of development. I’m not sure we do. We certainly don’t have young top attacking talent. We need to be challenging in 2 years, I think, before we have a rebuild of the attack.

  2. Maybe, Tony, maybe, which is covered off in the final section. Most speculation focuses on that scenario with the Europa League trimming down in size but I question when this third tournament is being played.

    CL is Tuesday / Wednesday, EL Thursday. So, if the idea is to ‘promote’ the EL, you’d hardly play the third competition on the same day. Unless the plan is to start the 3rd comp on Tuesday, move all CL to Wednesday and then go to EL on Thursday?

  3. LSG,

    Those clubs have also outspent us even of we are ‘wealthier’ than those other clubs. I would say that despite the constant drum beating of the PL being the best league in Europe, would a Super League prefer Atletico or Chelsea….I would venture to say they would prefer Atletico.

    The interesting thing will be how this seasons European campaign goes. If we win the Europa League(which I think we most certainly can with both our strikers and hopefully the team gelling) I think the building blocks are there. Part of the issues I had with Arsene and hia approach to Europe was that he seemed to want to go toe to toe with the big boys and then play more on the counter against everybody else.

    Patience, will be MASSIVE because Emery is trying to undo so much but I think Europa is the perfect place for us to start.

  4. Gotta love a conspiracy YW. You might be on to summint here.

    Uefa have their noses deep in the trough, always have, always will. What will hurt them is if there is a fall in the TV revenue. I get the feeling we are close to Peak Football revenue. The latest TV deals were not as high as expected. BT is taking a step back. What goes up must come down.

  5. I really can’t give a fuck anymore. This ‘Nation’s League’ has sucked all the renewd enthusiasm that I had in the close season out of me. The further diluting of European Club competition just reinforces the emptiness of most modern football.

    Make more money? Who from? Who the fuck even bothers to watch all this bollocks?

    Even posting on this site has become a chore having to fill in my personal info every time.

  6. C, which teams spent more than us? I’m not talking about Real, Barca, Bayern, PSG, City, MU. If the rest have outspent us, why? We have greater resources than teams like Monaco, BvB, Milan, Tottenham, Liverpool, Juve, Porto, and Atlético. Teams that gave either beat us in Europe or gone further in the CL than we routinely have done.

  7. consolsbob,

    We’ve missed your posts. Seems AW’s departure isn’t a cure all. No surprise, of course. Stan the man undermining this club. UEFA/FIFA/FA/PL, corporate football undermining a great game. Big problems.

  8. LSG,

    Putting Porto in that mix is dicey simply because they haven’t gone further than us and if so, lets look at the quality of play. To be fair, Dortmund plummented under Klopp and struggled since while still spending. Milan have outspent us but what do they actually have to show for it. Atletico have outspent us more than I think people realize(look at their actual outlay) but the rest such as Juve and Monaco, I have said for years that Juve are by far the best club at spending thr same as us but getting bettet value for money while Monaco has been at the forefront and played more young players than almost any other club their size in Europe. If your asking me, I think it all falls down to the manager and those running the club, unfortunately we had an aging manager while the rest went a different way about things.

    I do think Emery will come good but patience HAS to be shown given he is trying to change 23 years (the last 8 even while lifting silverware it was clear the decay had settled in) of Arsene.

  9. LSG,

    I would live a Europa League crown to start his rebuild but unlike Sevilla, I don’t see us selling his best players year in and year out.

  10. YW,

    Dignitas? Is that some Second string club from Spain that we are due to play in some future existence?

    Book me in for the meet in the pub. Is Jonny going?

  11. C, I think my point is that we have h deeperformed in Europe. I am not sure that this is contestable. Getting back into Europe and improving on our inability to get out of the first knockout round is the highest priority first step in restoring some standing for the club. I think it is more achievable than challenging for the league next season.

  12. LSG,

    Absolutely I agree but that speaks to the stale nature that had swallowed Arsenal but there were glimpses and last season should be built on. I know people like to talk about getting back to the top but I think it all starts with success and we have lacked that. Building on the EL run and this being named EL champs I think would instill so much confidence similar to when we lifted the FA Cup and looked set to take the next step before Arsene decided not to spend for anything but a GK when we should have won the PL.

  13. It has often been said that there are only so many (pounds, euros, dollars, shekels – check all that apply) available to be spent on sports in any one city, so it seems unlikely that the working public will be able to afford to support the extra league(s). Of course, TV can through its advertising but even that isn’t unlimited, you would think.
    However it’s planned, it most certainly isn’t with Joe Public in mind.

  14. C,

    I think an EL victory would be an excellent first step. If we recruited well on the back of it, maybe we could re-establish ourselves as a top 4 team. I am not sure we are properly gearing for top 4 this season, so EL victory would be so important.

  15. I agree with Limestone. We need to regain our status as a “big club” if we hope to compete with the top clubs in Europe. Sevilla was a great story as the little engine that could but our objectives should be much higher then that. I understand the calls for patience but unfortunately we have a short window of opportunity if we hope to build a top 4 team around players like PEA, Ozil and Mkhitaryan. They are all moving into their 30’s right now. We can’t really have a 2-3 year rebuilding plan that includes those 3 because they will certainly be on the downward part of their career arc by the end of that time period.

  16. Knock out competitions like Europa league are notoriously difficult because anything can happen over a 180 minutes over 2 games. I think we certainly have a chance to win but teams like Chelsea and a few teams that drop down from the CL will make for some tough opponents similar to what happened with Atletico last season. Building our hopes of regaining the champions league by counting on winning the Europa league is analogous to building your financial strategy around winning the lottery.

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