Trends & Features

The football Super League in Europe already exists

Thirty years ago the most powerful forces in English football had their way. The FA Premier League was founded, as the elite top-flight clubs formed their own breakaway league, marking an entirely new era in the beautiful game. Three decades later, the biggest clubs are wealthier than ever before, while modest English sides are far richer compared to some of their most illustrious European counterparts.

Despite this embarrassment of riches, several English sides were tempted to seek more wealth in 2021, when the concept of a new European Super League was proposed. Led and presented by Real Madrid supremo Florentino Perez, the idea was essentially aborted before it was even born, largely because of an outpouring of disgust and rejection by English football supporters.

Likewise, continental giants including Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain weren’t even sat at the negotiating table, which also made the whole Super League idea seem somewhat farcical. English clubs quickly withdrew their approval, almost as rapidly as it had been granted, leaving Spanish duo Real Madrid and Barcelona, along with Italian side Juventus, as the only remaining clubs insisting that future plans remained viable.

But while the Super League concept appears to remain dormant in the background, there are growing concerns from the leading domestic leagues in Europe, festering with envy like an open wound. They have acknowledged an increasing inability to compete with the Premier League, highlighted by massive spending during the summer 2022 transfer window, before the period for player signings has even closed.

In a report published by Pundit Arena on August 24, with plenty of time left for more signings to be made, the author postulated that already, the Premier League has officially become the Super League. This was underlined by a graphic, highlighting the comparative spending between the top seven leagues in European football.

While the other six leagues had spent a total of €2.315 billion combined on transfers, the Premier League alone had spent €1.730 billion. The biggest expenditure beyond the English Premier League was found in Italy’s Serie A, with an expenditure on transfers of €681.83 million. The German Bundesliga, Spanish LaLiga, and French Ligue 1, had not yet surpassed the €500 million mark in transfer spending.

Across the European football map, there are growing concerns that other domestic leagues are simply unable to compete with English transfer spending. The Premier League generates much more revenue from broadcast rights and other deals, both domestic and overseas. The only league to come anywhere close overseas is LaLiga in Spain, which secured an Asian broadcasting deal similar to that of the Premier League, largely due to the appeal of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Fandom for European football may still be regarded as a growing market in Asia, yet the region has already proven to be a booming zone of economic focus for top clubs and leagues, particularly in populous countries like China or India. Wagering on matches has also become phenomenally popular, as fans flock to find the best sports betting sites in India, based upon expert reviews and trusted recommendations.

Betting offers a sense of participation, which both LaLiga and the Premier League now offer their audiences across Asia and elsewhere, thanks to interactive mobile apps and localised commentary on games. Bookmakers have been doing this for much longer, enhancing the matchday experience for those who enjoy predicting results.

Given the huge revenue streams filling the coffers of English football, the Premier League is now considered to be the de facto Super League in every aspect but name. So how can the European domestic leagues ever hope to compete, when such a massive economic gulf exists? Well, the leaders at some clubs are beginning to formulate alternative ideas, following the spectacular failure of the Super League ambitions of 2021.
In an article published by The Sun on August 10, translating and quoting an interview sourced via Tuttosport in Italy, one interesting proposition has emerged. Adriano Galliani, once the CEO and vice-president of AC Milan, and now general manager of newly promoted Monza, suggested a kind of football Brexit to end England’s superiority.

Galliani claimed that Premier League clubs generate four times the revenue, compared to their counterparts in Serie A, making it economically impossible for Italian clubs to compete with English rivals. To highlight the point, he observed that Monza will get €33 million this season, while in the Premier League, newly promoted Nottingham Forest are guaranteed to get €160 million.

In the opinion of Galliani, the European leagues must join forces and forget about including the Premier League, should any future Super League plans arise again. Essentially, he is calling for European clubs to stand against the dominance of English football, regarding this as the only solution to the gulf in finances, other than to forge closer ties with Premier League clubs.

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