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The European Super League has been defeated

By Bradford City Supporters Trust, Apr 28 2021 08:26AM

Last week the European Super League was defeated within 24 hours of reports that the big 6 Premier League Clubs were announcing they were jumping ship.

The white-hot anger of fans has ensured that the Super League has been stopped in its tracks. But the fight for meaningful football reform and genuine fan engagement from Clubs out of this mess is just beginning.

Bantams Supporters Trust believes that if this was ever to see light of day, it would in the long-term impact on Clubs like ours as the Premier League as a competition would be seriously damaged.

The marketisation and commodification of football and it’s fans has spun out of control since the formation of the Premier League, where players wages sky rocketed and match day and season ticket prices became out of reach for ordinary supporters. There is an interesting article about how football mixed with big business has alienated many fans, written by an Exeter fan here. It is certainly evocative.

Fans must be at the heart of governance review

The FSA have been calling for the Government to conduct a fan-led review since the Government had it as an election pledge. Under pressure culminating from the mess of the now foiled plans of the ‘big 6’, on the 19th, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport secretary of state Oliver Dowden announced the launch of the fan-led review of football governance, See the FSA’s Statement here.

On the 22nd April its Terms of Reference were announced. You can see the link to this FSA’s article here.

FSA statement on the European Super League when it broke out can be found here.

The FSA Chief Executive, Kevin Miles, with fans representatives and senior officials including Government ministers on the 20th April. There is a statement about that meeting here.

As affiliated members of FSA, we are also part of Football Supporters Europe (FSE), they also put out a statement, you can read here.

What was the motive for the European Super League?

It is pretty clear that the insatiable need for profit is clear, but also just look at the debts of those Clubs involved in the European Super League.

The current debt of all 12 European Super League clubs

Atletico – £804m

Barcelona – £1.030bn

Real Madrid – £651m

Arsenal – £405m

Chelsea – £224m

Liverpool – £386m

Man City – £202m

Man Utd – £771m

Tottenham – £1.177bn

Inter – £757m

Juventus – £752m

Milan – £247m

Total debt £7.406 billion

Remember ‘Project Big Picture’ in October last year?

This involved the same ‘big 6’ Premier League Clubs attempting to re-organise the Premier League from 20 Clubs to 18. These ‘big 6’ Clubs along with Everton, Southampton and West Ham would have the majority shareholding voting rights, with the ‘big 6’ being aloud to veto or pass certain rules. Furthermore, their proposals would’ve done away with the League Cup and Charity Shield, and all this was to be accepted by the EFL on a bribe of £250m to be redistributed to them. The key point that is often missed is that, their offer to the EFL would not have been new money. It was based on existing models of TV money income distribution where the ‘big 6’ would financially benefit immensely at the expense of the bottom 12 PL Clubs to pay for it. That is what is so scandalous about it. Fortunately, this didn’t go ahead but it wouldn’t be surprising if something similar is to reappear in the future as the Premier League as it is cannot carry on forever as it is.

Sustain The Game

Last August, the FSA launched its’ Sustain The Game campaign with great fanfare. Bantams Supporters Trust is one of many Supporters Trusts to back this along with media pundits, academics, and politicians.

Sustain The Game 5 principles:

1. Protect our clubs

2. Transparency

3. Financial controls

4. Strengthen the pyramid

5. Supporter engagement

The FSA has made a series of proposals to the FA including a new Code of Practice on the Stewardship of Football Clubs – For further reading on the Sustain The Game campaign and the proposals go to the article here.

Lobby your MP to ensure football reform

The ideas of a European Super League or the ‘Project Big Picture’ are dead at least for now, but there is still a lot of work to reform football to be done.

Ian Mearns, Labour MP for Gateshead, has introduced an Early Day Motion (EDM) before Parliament calling for support from MPs who back the FSA’s reform proposals, and to make sure that fans are put front and centre of the upcoming fan-led review of football governance. Read more on this here.

Play your role in the Supporters Trust movement

There does appear to be so much going on at the moment. We are not an island, so we as Bradford City supporters will not be immune to events like the climb down of the proponents of the European Super League due to fan pressure. It shows that as a group of fans, we can unite on common themes that can impact on our Clubs and the game as a whole. We as fans need to recognize our collective strength.

What can I do?

As well as lobbying your MP on football reform you can take part in our Covid Survey:

Get in touch with us if you want to help us with developing the Trust and raise our profile, talk to us about a fundraising idea, meet with us, get in touch at [email protected].

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