There had been rumblings of it for a while, but yesterday the bombshell finally dropped. An initial twelve football clubs announced that they have signed up for a ‘European Super League’ – a mid-week competition essentially designed to replace the Champions League, but should it go ahead, something that could completely change the structure of the sport as we know it.
The reaction from pundits, fan groups, and even the UK government has been one of almost blanket condemnation. The main point of contention is that these ‘founding clubs’ would have a guaranteed place in the league every season, utterly going against the spirit of competition in the pursuit of financial gain and self-interest.
Six Premier League teams have joined the venture so far – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. As this infographic shows, their current status as elite English clubs is largely hard to argue with, But the country’s ‘big six’ is not and has never been set in stone. Not only were two of the sides below sixth position in the league at the time of the announcement, a look back at the history of English football highlights the fluidity of the top flight. That is something which the concept of the Super League denies and would ultimately put an end to should it get pushed through.
With the huge weight of the current footballing infrastructure pushing against the plans though, the chances of it happening are still unclear. Fifa has already said that players and clubs taking part in the league would not be eligible for its competitions – including the World Cup – while the Premier League and UEFA have threatened complete bans on any teams that sign up.
This chart shows the football clubs with the most top-6 finishes in the English top flight over the last five decades.
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