Photo via: The Guardian
Today was an eventful day, as the Super League has suspended its operations (for now) and the sporting world reacts to the conclusion of the Derek Chauvin trial.
Goodbye Super League. That was Quick.
A lot has changed over the last twenty-four hours with regard to the European Super League (ESL). Last night, Florentino Perez virtually guaranteed that none of the dozen teams would back out and the ESL would continue as planned. Simply put, Perez was wrong. It appears now that the ESL will not happen any time as currently constructed because the six English teams have backed out of the tournament.
There was enormous pressure on the twelve, as the decision to band together and create their own league was sharply criticized by almost everyone. In England, some of the clubs’ supporters held protests outside their stadiums, making it very clear to the organizations that fans were against the ESL.
The first domino fell around 2 PM EST today, when Chelsea announced that they were preparing the paperwork to exit the Super League. Fans around the world rejoiced, as the first of the dozen backed down. A few minutes later it was reported that Manchester City would follow suit. By 4 PM EST, we were able to get a glimpse into the minds of the players. Several Liverpool players tweeted out the same image, plainly reading:
“We don’t like it and we don’t want it. This is our collective position. Our commitment to this football club and its supporters is absolute and unconditional. You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
At this point in time, it was abundantly clear the ESL would not be happening, especially after players expressed their dissatisfaction.
All six of the English sides have confirmed that they will no longer participate in the ESL, each releasing a separate club statement. Additionally, the two Milanese clubs, AC Milan and Inter Milan, signaled they would be leaving the ESL as well.
In response to the clubs jumping ship, the ESL is suspending its plans. In a statement, the Super League mentioned that it will “reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community.” Although the ESL will not be happening, this may not be the end of the saga. The clubs have to face some sort of punishment, right? They defiantly brought the world to a standstill and exposed the fragility of the football pyramid, just to make more money. It would be unfair if they got out of this mess unscathed. I personally think the teams should be docked points (just enough so Arsenal get relegated) and fines imposed.
Something I have recently been thinking about is “how do you fix this?” Obviously, the amount of money the big clubs have is ridiculous and unfair. What if UEFA inserted a transfer-fee cap? Obviously, there would be a lot of complexities to it, but the basic idea is that every team would only be allowed to spend a maximum of 100,000,000 Euros on transfer fees every two years. This would allow the big clubs to still spend every transfer window, but also put an emphasis on the idea of financial fair play. It would give the smaller clubs the ability to compete with the bigger clubs as well. In theory it makes sense, but who knows in practice if it would do anything?
The Sports World Reacts to the Derek Chauvin Trial
In more serious news, I would be remiss if I did not mention the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. Chauvin was convicted on all three counts relating to the death of George Floyd last May.
The sports world has not remained silent. Many athletes have expressed their opinions on social media. NBA superstar LeBron James tweeted out “ACCOUNTABILITY”, while 2019 WNBA Champion, Natasha Cloud tweeted “This is Justice.”
Athletes are not the only ones sharing their thoughts. Many professional and amateur sports teams and leagues have released statements in support of the verdict. The Minnesota Wild released a statement that reads:
“While the verdict marks the end of the trial, there is still much work to be done. The Wild organization is committed to driving social change and fostering inclusivity by providing a safe, positive and welcoming environment for ALL community members and employees. We are all responsible for writing the next chapter, and that begins with a focus on healing and unity.”
ESPN has put together an article with tweets from many prominent sports figures, organizations, and teams responding to outcome of the Chauvin trial. It can be accessed here.
Colin Kaepernick’s individual statement continues to make an impact, as teams, leagues, players associations and sponsors step up to voice support for social justice.
3L & Editor-in-Chief of the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal. Sad fan of the Philadelphia sports teams and Tottenham Hotspur. I enjoy writing and learning about the intersection of sports and business law, with a focus on the NHL. H2P!