Somebody has to Lose (Premier League Edition)
There's a plague spreading in the sports world and that's the mindset that no one understands the simple fact that someone has to lose.
Editor's Note: We started writing this article in January. News from this weekend inspired us to pick the subject back up.
January 10, 2021
Back in October, there were rumors that 6 teams in the Premier League were breaking off to form a European Super League. At first, Man City, Man United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Liverpool just wanted to stack the deck at the top of the English Soccer Pyramid. But Operation Big Picture, yielded no tangible changes to the Premier League. Frustrated, the teams explored other options in order to strong arm the English Football Association into changing their rules.
Even the fans of the Big 6 were against changes to the FA. Why? Because the fans didn't want American Billionaires ruining soccer. But fans couldn't actually prevent the Big 6 from leaving, could they? What actually stopped that Big 6?
Since 1992, when the Premier League was formed, one of the Big 6 have won the Premiership every year except for Blackburn in 1995 and Leicester City in 2016. Every year 3 teams are relegated and 3 teams are promoted while the same 6 teams linger near the top of the standings. There are no Salary Caps in English football, just Financial Fair Play rules. (For Americans, what are Financial Fair Play rules? Basically a team can only spend what it makes. If your team makes half a billion dollars [Manchester United], you can spend half a billion dollars. If your team makes 100 million [Burnley], your team can only spend a 100 million. You see how the table is slanted now?
Now it's not just the Premier League, the Spanish, the Germans, the Italians, the French all have top divisions that are fairly static nearly the top and constantly churn at the bottom. Bayern Munich, for example, has won the German Bundesliga 8 years in a row and has a huge advantage in revenue streams. FC Shakhtar Donetsk has come in either first or second in the Ukrainian Premier League 25 years in a row. Shakhtar Donetsk does great in Ukraine, then runs into the buzzsaw in the Champions League.
Which brings us back around to why the English Big 6 didn't leave the Premier League.
You know what all those teams have in common? None of them like to lose. Let's just say that the Big 6 wanted to create a permanent, full-time version of the Champions League simply called the Winner's League.
Problem #1: History
Some teams that haven't had a losing record in a generation are going to have losing records. By definition, half of the Winner's League will have winning records and half will have losing records. What happens if a team like Manchester United has a losing record? Man U hasn't had a losing records since 1990 (13-16-9). Would Red Devil fans literally burn down the city of Manchester if they had a losing record? Soccer fans are not known as the most rational bunch.
Problem #2: Who 's going to volunteer to lose?
Back to the Shakhtar Donetsk example. What do you think is more attractive to the owners of Shakhtar Donetsk? Stomping through the Ukrainian League for another decade, or a decade of losing records in the Winner's League? At some point, the owners of Donetsk may have to answer the uncomfortable question of whether it's worth more money to go to the Winner's League or less money to dominate the Ukraine.
Problem #3: Promotion/Relegation
In America, nearly every pro sports league is a closed system. Meaning teams stay in their leagues unless they fold. In Europe, soccer has never heard of such a thing.
I think most soccer fans, again, in Europe, would be aghast at a league with a permanent number of members. If you demoted the bottom three teams in a Winner's League back to their own countries, would each country's top soccer division welcome said team back? There are lots of unknowns......
Editor's Note II: I lost traction on the article because there were so many unknowns and never published it. But according to ESPN, the Big 6 are back at it again.
April 19, 2021
This past weekend, news began to leak out that the Big 6 are going to try to start their own "SUPER League." Again. The Super League will be broken down into 2 10-team divisions.
Supposedly, the 12 founding clubs are AC Milan, Arsenal, Atheltico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. 3 more teams are rumored to be Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain. The Ukrainians seem to be on the outside looking in.
Let's speculate that the remaining 5 teams would be Lyon, Ajax, Leverkusen, Eindhoven, and Porto.
I think the Big 6 are basically saying is that they are done with the Champions League and the FA Cup, but will try to force the Premier League to keep their membership.
You are arguing with me that's not what the Big 6 said? Listen, they could have "leaked" their intentions this summer, and then simply left. The Big 6 (and company) want to leverage a better deal for their teams.....and to kill the Champions League.
In America, no one really seemed to care, but here's the crux of it: Americans like Stan Kroenke and Joel Glazer are trying to Americanize European soccer. If the Big 6 (and company) are successful in creating a Super League, with permanent membership and guaranteed revenue streams....
Editor's Note III:
April 21, 2021 Jeez, things move fast in Europe.
Due to fan backlash, the Super League clubs pulled the plug after only 2 days. FIFA threatened the teams that were leaving with no World Cup and no membership in ANY FIFA sanctioned events. The money that would be lost wouldn't be replaced with money that would be gained, so the Big 6 quickly capitulated to their fans.
The reaction to the new Super League was, probably, 90% negative, and the other 10% was snarky. The 10% found irony that the greedy Champions League was being replaced by the super greedy Super League.
This article is a mess. The new Super League is a dead mess. Bunch of Billionaire Scumbag Owners fighting with a bunch of Scumbag FIFA members.
Brass tacks: Stan Kroenke, Roman Abramovich, John Henry, the Glazer Family, Joe Lewis, and Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, are trying to circumvent the promotion relegation system to guarantee revenue streams.
You know why they failed? Because they didn't cut the mobsters at FIFA in. The Super League scoundrels won't make that mistake the next time. (And there will be a next time.)
You want to stop the next form of the Super League from happening?
In the year 2017, Beacon of Speech kind of slapped a bounty on the owner of the Ottawa Senators. It wasn't a personal vendetta, websites as large as The Ringer proclaimed Eugene Melnyk "The Worst Sports Owner in North America."
Joe McGrath: You can't put a bounty on a man's head.
Reggie Dunlop: I just did.
Short of that, I don't know how you stop Stan Kroenke, a.k.a. the Greediest Man in World Sports. I don't think Satan himself had the balls to try to pull off some of Kroenke's stunts, including being one of the behind the scenes spearheads of the Super League.
Editor's Note IV:
April 22, 2021
Arsenal Fans are furious with the Kroenkes. - Daily Mail
Champions League furious with Real Madrid and Juventus. - Daily Mail
Manchester United Fans storm training grounds. - Daily Mail
Manchester United's Executive Vice-Chairman Quits - Daily Mail
Tottenham Manager Fired - Daily Mail (Probably unrelated to Super League)
Chelsea and Tottenham Fans Demand Apology - Daily Mail
Liverpool Fans will "Never Forgive" John Henry - Daily Mail
Manchester City and Chelsea claim they are not in soccer "to make money" - Daily Mail
Editor's Note V
April 23, 2021
Super League Fallout - ESPN
Editor's Note VI:
April 24, 2021
Jewish newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, claims that Jewish Premier League owner Roman Abramovich saved the Premier League and killed the Super League. Abramovich's antisemitic stances are noble, but he is not the savior of the Premier League.
Far, far from it.
Editor's Note VII:
April 25, 2021
Kroenke WILL NOT SELL - ESPN
I have to put this article to bed. We will open up the time capsule next year.
None of the BIg 6 Will Sell
There Will be a New Version of the Super League (That will cut in FIFA)
The new Super League will generate so much money that it will almost guarantee none of the involved clubs could ever be relegated again. Which is the endgame.