The soccer planet, a multiform and disparate conglomerate united by the tight bond of the ball and emotion, suffered a painful shake last Sunday, when the birth of the Super League was officially announced.
It smelled of carpet and hardwood, and not grass (which is already an exit error) in the offices where this revolution was secretly forged a couple of years ago. A coup by the football oligarchy that, with inexplicable nocturnalness, turned the system upside down. It is incomprehensible that twelve clubs of that caliber present such a huge project in such a sloppy way. The terrible handling of communication, bordering on the childish, has been one of the weakest pillars where the building has collapsed.
Nor is the precipitation of movements understood. And much less, the load of improvisation that has accompanied this ephemeral adventure. Nothing is more disastrous and humiliating than seeing a ship sink in its launch. And that is what has happened to this project that, far from “coming to save football”, denatured this sport, exploded its meritocratic essence, devalued the national leagues, damaged the industry and punished emotions. Too many impacts that the promoters of the revolt minimized, sheltered in the fragile armor of a private poll that attributed 70% of popular support to the cause. They could not read the game. Another big mistake from an infinite list. They did not know how to put themselves in the shoes of the fan, the fans, custodians and guarantors of the substance of this sport. How could they think that the fans would happily accept that the benefit of a few left the rest in an uncertain drift. This shows that they did not want, did not know or did not even try, to listen to all parties.
It was significant that Florentino Pérez, president of this fleeting adventure, attributed to private interests the monumental stance against it, expressed by all the specialized press. A blindfold over his eyes, sewn with gold thread, prevented him from seeing the fierce reaction of all the estates that make up the great football family. He, too, did not know how to listen to the noise, the absolute clamor (reflected in numerous covers) against a project that placed football in a dangerous and negative scenario of confrontation and weakening. While demanding transparency, Florentino (the maximum but not the only person responsible for the fiasco) could not explain why the project was born without two fundamental pillars such as Bayern and PSG. Could anyone think that the Parisian-Qataris were going to face UEFA and FIFA with a World Cup in a few months? Nor was it clear how they were going to develop the aforementioned solidarity mechanism towards the rest of the teams, so he continued to flutter the idea that this separatist movement was based on the most absolute greed.
There was much talk of billions, of distribution among the founders, of overwhelming income generation … But no self-criticism in matters such as containment of resources, cost reduction, waste in signings and salaries … That is impossible convince anyone. The very structure of the tournament was so fragile that any breath would have brought it down. We knew the 12 founders but nothing else. What other teams, and chosen based on what, were going to be part of the unsupportive journey. It seemed that the twelve had secured the lentils and the rest was already stuffed. All these reasons roused the soccer planet, which raised its voice in unison to overthrow this ‘rebellion of the generals’. Even the players of the teams involved showed their rejection. The opposition was so fierce, and the messages of the ‘separatists’ so imprecise, that in less than 48 hours the pharaonic idea was overthrown. England, the birthplace of football, was the place where the great battle was fought. It was very difficult for a sport as conservative and traditionalist as this to bear such an affront. The ‘supporters’ took to the streets and truncated the rebellion. It was a beautiful victory for the fans, for the emotions, over the arrogant and dehumanized power of money. Football will appreciate it.
From this volatile but intense experience all those cited lessons are extracted, we could even say that football now has greater greatness, but one last lesson cannot be ignored: UEFA and FIFA would do badly if now they do not listen carefully to the instigators of the revolt , they try to empathize with them, they do their best to understand their arguments and they build together, AMONG ALL, a path that guarantees the sustainability of this wonderful sport.
Source: Juan Ignacio Gallardo| Marca Editor-in-chief