JP Morgan is doling out billions to fund the ‘Dirty Dozen’ Super League — the biggest disruption in the history of club football
- The US banking behemoth JP Morgan is footing the bill to set up the European Super League.
- Pundits and fans across Europe aren’t happy about the new move, and neither is the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
- The new league will be in direct competition of the UEFA Champions League — a move that is unprecedented in club football history.
“I can confirm that we are financing the deal, but have no further comment at the moment,” a spokesperson of the American investment bank told news agency AFP. You can call it a ‘civil war’ or a ‘criminal act against fans’ but reality is that football clubs have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Most of the clubs are saddled with debt, large wage bills, and the second wave of COVID refuses to let up. The pandemic has cost European football an estimated €2 billion (₹20,750 crore) to date, according to Deloitte.
The want for a quick financial fix is a clear one, even for the continent’s biggest clubs. And, the Super League is offering big bucks.
In signing up for the new competition, the clubs would share a fund of €3.5 billion (₹31,371 crore) to spend on infrastructure projects and to deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
European football’s civil war led by the ‘Dirty Dozen’
The twelve founding members of Super League so far include the Premier League’s ‘big six’ as well as the top clubs from Italy and Spain.
They’re being pegged as the ‘Dirty Dozen’, ‘Shameless Six’, ‘The Imposters’ and ‘The Rebels’ in newspapers across Europe.
Full list of European football clubs who have agreed to join the Super League:
|Clubs participating in Super League
But not everyone is happy about this new move. Not the fans and definitely not the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“The only ones who stand to gain are hedge funds, oligarchs and a handful of already wealthy clubs, many of which perform poorly in their own domestic league despite their inbuilt advantage.”
The main argument seems to be that there is already a platform that allows clubs from different countries and leagues to compete with each other — the UEFA Champions League. Fans have pointed out that four of the 12 founding members — Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Atletico Madrid — have never won the Champions League.
Instead of being hailed as something that will improve football, as the founding members claim, fans and pundits are seeing this as a grab for power and money. Leagues like England's Premier League and Italy’s Serie A, which have huge TV audiences across the globe, may bear the brunt.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), backed by the Spanish, English and Italian football leagues, has threatened these clubs and their players with bans and legal action.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we… will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project — a project that is founded on the self interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”
By establishing a largely closed competition, the biggest clubs envision the future of football to be a year long reality television show whose sole purpose is to generate a ceaseless stream of content and talking points.
And, to be fair, in the age of 24-hour news cycles, this is something that may appeal to many people.
The deal is yet to be final. The Super League still needs three more clubs to sign up to make the grand total 15 before it can officially be in business. Regardless, it has plans to kick off ‘as soon as practicable’.
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