When the news of the formation of a breakaway European league – European Super League (ESL) – hit the media space last month; fans went wild with fury, pundits thundered their displeasure, Skysports, UEFA and Premier league owners screamed ‘treason’ and the whole social media-sphere became polluted with the debris of ten thousand thousands of opinions.
Naive, Loyal and Exploited, these fans took to riots at their camp grounds deriding their ‘treacherous’ club owners and protesting their displeasure over the wave of imminent change the ESL would bring.
Well for starts, The ESL promised to tackle and address all other non-football issues that has rusted the pleasure of the game over the years.
From soaring ticket prices to skyrocketing regulatory dues, obnoxiously high player transfer fees to restricted and expensive viewer subscription, there are just too many financially draining and exploitative actions going on behind the goal post that many people do not know of or cannot speak against as co-beneficiaries.
Yes, many English fans may be young and naïve and be content with the euphoria, clash and clout but it takes an ESL to open their eyes to see how they have been exploited for decades.
In this power tussle between top club billionaires, the fans are the pawn. Sacrifice the pleasure of the present to review and cut soaring costs or chicken out in fear of football losing its appeal, either way, the fans lose out.
The media on the other hand have been the least helpful in this scenario. Bereft of objectivity and fairness, they fan the embers of the flame of controversy; wrongly labelling the club owners as greedy instead of beaming the searchlight on the real exploitative cronies who run these leagues.
Uncouth savagery has become industry standard and even the least respect is denied club owners like Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who has devoted billions of dollars to the development of Manchester City, its stadium, the fans and the adjoining cities around it.
Now that the foray has died down courtesy of a late minute cash settlement from current league administrators, and most teams have issued their apology to the fans. Sky sports will still restrict viewership, tickets will remain high and transfer fees will climb even higher. The exploitation will continue.
The six English teams which sought to breakaway to the ESL were Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham. Others are Spanish based teams – Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and Barcelona, with Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan signing up from Italy.