I don’t write on sport that often – the last time I wrote about sport was a good few years ago but I feel like writing something now. The reason for that is because of the new Super League that has been announced. Over the last three days, I have been following two things, the Cape Town fire obviously, and the Super League. I have seen tons of opinions about the super league but most of them are from a british perspective, so I thought I would chuck in a bit more of a global look into it.
If you don’t know anything about the Super League, here is some context, basically all of the richest clubs in world football have come together to create a league that they are all in. Their idea is to have the best teams in the world competing against each other every week to create more revenue. On paper, in my opinion, it actually makes a lot of sense. The problem is that the only way to get into the Super League is essentially by invite at the moment. You can read a bit more context here.
The main outroar is that the league does not respect the fans, and ruins the game of football. The reason for this is because football is all about the potential for a weaker team to be able to play and sometimes beat better teams. Like David and Goliath.
I completely agree with the competitive aspect of most people’s argument, you cannot have a closed group of clubs that the only way to get in is through money. That is wrong.
However, the argument about this being against fans, and that club owners don’t care about fans, while probably true is a bit more complex. What most british football fans don’t realise is that football is now a global game and owners want to cater to global revenue possibilities.
I for examples live in South Africa, and the only two football clubs I have ever fully supported are Kaizer Chiefs and Chelsea. I was born in Joburg so my connection to Kaizer Chiefs makes some sense, but I have never been to the UK, so why do I support Chelsea?
It doesn’t make sense, but I have an emotional connection to the club. The first time I ever played FIFA, I picked Chelsea and I have never gone back from there.
Most arguments bare down to fans in the stadium, but here I am, a fan that has never been to Stamford Bridge and very well may never get there.
So, for fans like me, where am I left? The super league does seem like a more interesting prospect to international fans because we only ever get to watch games on TV, and that is what the Super League is about, entertaining games on television.
I think international fans are getting left a bit out of the debate, however, I do not support the super league. I understand why in principal it seems like a good idea, but I do not like it.
My favourite football competitions are the Champions League and the World Cup, there is no football better than those two competitions. What is beautiful about those two competitions is that they are completely different every single year.
No two World Cups are the same, there are different teams, different players, different stories and with a Super League you just don’t get that. Oh, and I should mention players that ended up playing in the Super League may be considered inelligible to play for their countries. That would mean that the best players in the world would miss the World Cup. Purely, based on that I am against the Super League but there is a bigger reason and that is democracy.
A bunch of billionaires decided that they wanted a Super League but the entire football community in Europe outside of those billionaires have made clear that they do not want it and millions of supporters against 12 billionaires, you know where my vote will be. Football clubs are nothing without the people that support them, whether that person is someone watching the game in Ghana or a british dude that can afford season tickets. Their decisions should be run by what the fans say, and clearly the fans do not want the Super League.
As a Chelsea fan, the best moment I had supporting the club was having a braai with a few friends, one of whom is a Bayern Munich fan, and sitting through 120 minutes of pure stress before Chelsea won the Champions League on penalties. I couldn’t believe it. Growing up, the only football I had access to was the Champions league, Tuesdays and Wednesdays were the only time I ever got the chance to watch Chelsea play – For me, it was the only competition that mattered. The Super League, would take away the Champions League and that would be a huge loss for those of us that grew up watching it on ETV on Tuesday night.
What is great as a Chelsea fan though, is that our club name and stadium are owned by a fan organisation called the Chelsea Pitch Owners. So, if the Super League did go through they could probably find a way to take the stadium out of our owners hands, and at the same time the name Chelsea FC.
I did just hear that Chelsea is going to the first club to withdraw from the Super League, that is relieving, let me go watch the Brighton game in peace now.