Enough ESL backslapping, it’s time to f*** sh*t up
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Well done everyone and thanks for your brilliant mails. Sorry, we couldn’t publish them all. Please keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t like the way the table is set, turn over the table…
I’m not an advocate for the ESL or the teams but I can see both points of view. The ESL clubs want change, they want to expand their finances and who can blame them. If they generate a certain amount of money in the game should they not be entitled to it or be able to explore further options that will increase there revenue. Apart from the fans the people crowing the loudest are the people you stand to lose money out of their pockets from these clubs. Lets not act like UEFA and FIFA are angels and are not trying to bleed as much money as possible from the game through added games in CL and Internationals. We are against the ESL because it gives them too much power, yet have no problems with the other organisations holding everyone to ransom because its the normal. I’m of the opionion real change need to happen or the game will be unsistainable.
Changes i’d like to see:
Champions league being scaled back to the winner or each league and having a knockout comp (no league).
Places 2 and 3 being put into Europa League, knockout comp (no league).
Winner of domestic cup = Cup Winners cup.
Get rid of one of the League or FA cup, they’re devalued these days and just adds to many games to the calendar.
Salary caps for the leagues driven by tax in the country. Max take home of £150,000 for each player, including bonus. Registered account in the country you play in (so no tax avoidance) and Clubs only allowed to spend % of income on salaries.
Transfer fees, either get rid or cap them to £50m and a % of income.
Agent fees scraped and agents to be paid from the pockets of the players they represent.
Football should be about well run clubs prospering and living within there means, not taking risks and chancing short term success. Letting people “inject” money into clubs to fund transfers doesn’t work as it inflates markets and is a form of cheating. It should be about a well run club, good manager and a group of players willing to be the best.
Football has become a business through the FA, UEFA and FIFA turning it into just that, although I don’t blame them as they are just lining there pockets and everyone one would do the same. But there needs to be rules where everyone is allowed to prosper and the games not compromissed for the benifit of others.
Clubs owners should be allowed a salary + a bonus/ dividends based on the profits the club makes. Profits after salarys, running costs, transfers etc should be made to be put back into improving the clubs and local community.
I’ll finish by saying football has become to flashy and extravegant and the money is spiriling out of control, we need rules in place to stop it being about more games for more money, or its going to end up defunked and trash. Fans crave more and more success, big signings and nice stadiums on the back of low tickets and low cost merchandise and want their team to be kept for the locals not foreigners. Well the numbers don’t add up, so change needs to come one way or another.
It seems we are all in one mind that something needs to happen to make real change.
The 51:49 thing seems a pretty good start, I’m sure there is a lot more to be done than that but I’m no specialist in this. I have a few quid put aside for a rainy day and I would take a chunk to buy my share of my clubs 51%.
But real question:Please can someone reply with something tangible we can actually do to kick start this process?
Do we need a government petition creating? Is there a unified fans group who could potentially engage the correct legal people? Does anyone know how to actually start doing something and not just saying it should happen?
I do not want this to just fade away because we are all too busy with our own lives, but who do we turn to and where do we go to enact this universally desired change?
Now that the threat of the complete and utter destruction of football at all levels has been removed we can get down to looking forward to the new Champions League which starts in 2024/25. Thank the Lord we won’t have a European Super League.
Instead, under UEFA, we will have a Champions League with 36 clubs in a massive division, a Europa League with 36 clubs in a massive division and a Conference League with 36 clubs in a massive division. The winners of the Europa League and the Conference League will be ‘promoted’ to the Champions League and the Europa League respectively and the clubs which don’t qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and Europa League will be ‘relegated’ to the league below.
I mean, it certainly sounds a lot like a three division European Super League… but I am sure it isn’t. Absolutely not.
And, at least they won’t have the threat of automatic qualification for big clubs… except, of course, under this system Liverpool would qualify for next season’s Champions League even if they finished last in the Premier League. And Chelsea. So six English clubs in the Champions League no matter what. So…
Thank the Lord we won’t have a European Super League.
Whilst i agree with some of Gary Nevilles points in recent days, i also think part of him is talking as an owner of a lower league football club owner who was about to have his glass ceiling cemented over, thats another arguement. But this wanting perez to fine all the english clubs £100m (€116m) is the talk of an absolute 24 carat cockwomble!!
If thats the case he has to fine all 12 clubs, is he seriously going to fine his already broke arse real madrid €116m euros! Is he balls.
A combined fine of €1.4bn who in there right mind would hand that money over to this clown! And if they do where does that money go? Who gets it? Probably conveniently clear Real Madrids overdraft!!
I would however like the english clubs involved to maybe donate £10m each to grass roots football or the fight against racism or something positive in football. It wont reverse the damage done but it would be a gesture of goodwill non the less.
Florentino Perez was kind of right when he said football needed to change, a lot of younger people are not being attracted to the game – and much has been written about the fans getting the power back after the big six jumped ship yesterday. But we are deluding ourselves if we think anything is actually going to change: the Premier League is still with us, allowing the big clubs all the power and money they already have, La Liga is still set up to allow Real Madrid and Barcelona to manipulate the title between themselves and Serie A is still a playground for Juventus. Added to that, the game is run by two of the most spineless, ineffectual governing bodies in world sport. Now would be the time for FIFA and/or UEFA to lead the sport into a better place, by cleaning up this mess os financial disparity (and fixing VAR whilst they are at it, just saying) but lets not forget, these are the same gutless cowards who handed a ten game ban to a man convicted of using a racist term to a fellow professional. Not a lifetime ban, like in other sports, a ten game ban. And there’s something fundamentally wrong with the sport itself when his team can stand in solidarity with him and be allowed to get away with it – a team that have had four incidents of racism in European competition in the past few years that the governing body has done nothing about. Now should be the time for the fans to demand REAL change – BAME representation at the highest levels of the sport and in managerial postions, LGBTQ players openly playing without fear of abuse from the stands or other professionals, equality of pay for womens football, family friendly stadiums, differently abled access in lower league stadiums funded by the governing body, money for grassroots football, support for local referees. Imagine if the fans were demanding all that, instead of whining ‘it’s not fair, my team hasnt got as much money as yours’. Maybe then we’d see younger people attracted back to the game again.
Saddened Gooner (not sure where we go from here)
Although the plans for ESL collapsed, I am quite pessimistic about any real change happening any time soon in the football ecosystem.
First – European Football is a global sport these days and the demand for it makes it profitable for TV companies. Naturally what that means, is that they have to pay huge amounts of money to get the TV deals when competing with other TV companies. In order to benefit financially from those deals, they calculate the most profitable way of constructing a monthly fee from subscribers. If it’s significantly lower, it won’t cover their costs and any higher than it is now, people will stop paying it and consume their income to something else. How is it possible to change anything in that? The only way I see is that the one selling those TV rights, like premier league, would limit the monthly fee when issuing these bids. Which would mean less money for them as naturally it would lower the bids from TV companies.
Second – Merchandise and other income like match day tickets. Again, I see no plausible way of changing anything in this regard. Clubs will set the prices for maximum profit. Well, by clubs I mean companies as that is what they really are nowadays. They will charge the maximum amount they can as long as the negative effects are tolerable (fan protests etc.) and the stadiums are filled. Why would the companies (clubs) change anything in that regard?
So what has all that created, is massive increase in income for top clubs in the past decade or so. Player wages are just a canary in a coal mine. They haven’t created the problem, they are just the symptom of it. Cutting wages or transfer fees, which is quite impossible in itself, wouldn’t solve anything, just change the balance of those who make profit more to the owners and less to those that create it. Talking about the top clubs (including most premier league sides as they benefit from massive TV deals) I have very little sympathy for their financial woes. They have overspent like there is no tomorrow and just seem… incompetent financially. Maybe it has something to do with history as being primarily a sporting club, not economic enterprise, but it’s no excuse and blaming the young generation or high wages is just laughable. If you can’t afford the wages of Messi, Ronaldo, Pogba, Özil, Salah etc. don’t pay them, Clubs are not forced to pay anything for anyone. They choose to do so. Just imagine the same situation in the company you work for. “Right, we need a marketing guru in order to be the best marketing firm in this country” “But it would cost us 5 times more than the marketing specialist we have now and we can’t really afford it as there are no guarantees that it creates enough income. How about we try to develop our personnel and review our training methods in order to improve?” “Nah, not good enough. Sounds too difficult. Just get the guru no matter the costs. I’m sure it will all work out somehow”. You would find these leaders incompetent, foolhardy and insane. I think the easiest (sadly) example of this is Barcelona. Imagine being in debt and spending something like 350m on Coutinho, Griezmann and Dembele and of course added on their massive wages. Mindblowing. And then somebody says that it is Messi’s wages that are the cause of Barcelona’s woes. The one who is keeping them almost single handedly in CL money and probably bringing them more income commercially than rest of the squad combined.
Overall, there are three ways a change is possible. First is that if clubs/companies start prioritizing their fans over income and as we have all seen especially now, it won’t happen. And why would it? Owners are not even local and have no ties to the clubs. It’s just business for them. Second, if organizations in football radically change the way they think prioritizing fans over profit setting rules and regulations for clubs. Not just FFP which seems to protect those on top but limiting ticket prices, monthly fees for subscribers etc. I don’t even know if that is legally possible for them and recent history doesn’t fill me with confidence when considering UEFA etc. Third option, which many keep talking about, is us fans collectively stop paying for merchandise, leaving stadiums empty (after covid…) and not paying TV fees. Again, maybe I am pessimistic, but like in for example climate change, I just don’t see it happening in large enough scale. People want to get by. They don’t have the energy or the will to explore options and try to affect many issues in society. They maybe choose one that is close to them personally, but that’s it.
Unless something radically changes in our society, I see no major change. Clubs and football organizations will prioritize profits and us individuals don’t have willpower to collectively put end to it.
Whilst we all collectively rejoice and celebrate this moral victory over the greed of the superclubs, I won’t add too much on top of what’s already been said. The mailbox has been a joy to read the last few days, and it’s great to see a united front on an issue as big as the stealing of our beautiful game.
As a Liverpool fan, i’m appalled and saddened by it all. I think a fine makes sense that goes into a ‘covid recovery fund’ for struggling Football League teams and grassroots. London (where I live) is blessed with some great local facilities (as well as some not-so-great, Hackney Marshes anyone?) but where I grew up (south coast) the pitches, facilities and state of the game is in tatters. Let’s use that money to regenerate and instill some pride back into our game at a local level. Maybe then Agnelli’s ‘uninterested youth market’ will develop the love and passion for the game we all have.
On the topic of points deductions, I agree – but do it from the start of next season. Deducting points this season would be messy, be subject to a myriad of lawsuits and would leave a distinctly sour taste in the mouth of everyone – but the 6 of us starting on -3, -5 or even -10 next season? Sure – do it.
The only other thing I wanted to mention is the elitism displayed from a minor section of fans. I’ve seen comments like ‘I don’t want to watch Burney v West Brom every week and frankly that is a terrible attitude. Those clubs have earned their way into the biggest and best league in the world on merit through hard work. And how do you think that comes across to fans of that team? I’m pretty sure Burnley fans relish playing teams like West Brom, because they are competitive games with stakes and winning a game brings joy to them, just as much as it does to City fans beating Dortmund, or Chelsea fans beating Atletico. Those games are special because they are rare – to increase frequency is to remove the special feeling of those games. And if you thin Atletico v Arsenal as an end-of-season dead rubber would be any better, think again.
Football needs independent regulation, unity and accountability. No more huge agents fees, no more unlimited salaries and transfer fees, no more shady business deals and no more incorrectly applied FFP. Proper rules, proper transparency and love for every game.
Those that shouted loud and made their voices heard, I salute you. Now to kick on and enforce the change we need to see to protect our game.
Lee (not that one), LFC
Sanity, it seems, for now, has been restored.
For now, fans and players can continue to chase promotions and fight relegation with all the drama, tension and life-long memories that they bring. For now, parents can tell children that one day Rotherham United might play in the Champions League and for now, I will still get excited about a 6 hour journey to Plymouth on a cold Tuesday evening to watch my team lose 1-0 because there is a small chance, we might finally start a winning run on our journey to the premier league and beyond! I have been supporting my team for over 30 years now and it never happens, but it could. A competitive structure gives fans the hope that something could happen!
I say for now because if these 6 clubs are not heavily punished for their selfish behaviour, then it is only a matter of time before this happens again. In 2008, Luton were deducted 30 points, Rotherham 17 and Bournemouth 17 points as a result of their owners’ actions. It has happened this year with Sheffield Wednesday. The fans, players, staff and communities suffered for years because of the actions of their owners but it set a precedent that owners and clubs could be punished if they did not conform to agreed protocols that were in place to protect the interest of all clubs.
How then, can these Big 6 Clubs escape punishment for the attempts at ruining football for the majority? Yes, I accept they bring in revenue to English football and a lot of people watch them on subscription packages but their money-fuelled attempts to crush the dreams of a 5 year old child starting their football journey from back garden to Wembley stadium have far more long term implications on the future of football culture in our country.
It is good to see you all patting yourselves on the backs for the ending of the ESL before its even started.
The thing that amazes me is that people all over Europe are up in arms about this but barely bat an eyelid when mega corporations and financial institutions in cahoots with supranational institutions such as the EU are enacting legislation that damages our lives far more than the proposed Super League.
I’ve met so many intelligent people over the years who have a huge grasp and in depth knowledge of the game and their specialised profession but next to no interest in the mega corportations and the power they wield over governments and our lives. Football is just a distraction, an opiate for the masses. The ESL is just a microcosm of the beast that has already taken control over our lives. Our anger and attention would be much better directed at those in Westminster, Brussels, Davos,Silicon Valley and the big pharma criminals (nearly all major pharma firms have been convicted of criminal behaviour in the last decade) that seek to control and monitor of our lives in an ever increasingly invasive manner in partnership with their lapdogs in governments.
With this type of energy shown towards the ESL we could change the wold overnight.
Robert, Marbella, The Great Reset is real
Long-time reader, occasional contributor. I join, of course, in the beautiful feeling given off by events of the last 48 hours – that something remains in the collective power of people who don’t have immediate access to billion-dollar credit-lines; that they truly are a part of this whole thing, as opposed to simply being given fed platitudes that ‘they are’. If there’s one thing that still definitely counts these days, it’s the tarnishing of an entertainment product, and we, the fans, ultimately possess more power to do it than anyone else. Many things can be faked, but if the thing you’re trying to convince people they like and want actually smells like a toilet, that smell can’t be faked away.
A note of caution though unfortunately, about the longer-term effect of this. These men, sitting in their weirdo offices, never brushing up against the realities of most of us, will now feel pretty bitter about how we ‘spoiled’ their plans to make football a bigger, better, more rewarding place. The Glazers, Perezes, Henrys of the world had a plan – Fast Cash 4 Football – and we’ve blown it for them. We have done the thing which most affronts them: enforced reality upon them, and in so doing, stopped them making more money. The note of caution is in how they will see their ownership of the clubs going forward; do you think they’ll be favourably disposed to making the necessary investments required to make sure these clubs keep on going, without a taste of bitterness forever on their tongue? Do you think they won’t, in some way, feel like we deserve a punishment, in response to how we punished them? We have, after all, done the thing that enrages billionaires – made them realise that, when it comes to being powerful overlords dictating the currents of the world, they’re actually pretty shit at it.
All I’m saying is, don’t imagine there won’t be a backlash from inside. Don’t imagine they won’t already be sharpening the excuse of ‘well if you’d just let us . . ‘, when a club hits financial difficulty. I’m not sure what form it will take, but I guarantee you that they no longer feel the supporters of the club are on ‘their’ side. But ultimately, it’s a story for another day. For now let us bask in the April sunshine as the backdrop for the latest beauty the beautiful game has produced, and at a time which, amid the empty stadiums, and all those moronic little killjoy lines VAR insists on drawing on everything, doesn’t come a moment too soon.
My initial thoughts on the super league were that it was never going to fly. There were too many avenues for various bodies to cripple it e.g. banning players in it from playing international games etc. And now that all the PL clubs have “listened to the fans” and have done u-turn in record time, there is no doubt in my mind that this was nothing but a softening exercise.The owners involved have many faults, but they didn’t get to where they are by being stupid. These are shrewd, ruthless businessmen who know how to game the system. We all need to keep a very close eye on not just what’s coming next, but every subsequent move. This big bold new idea was nothing but a decoy. They know better than that. Hell, the dog in the street knows that’s not how to do it with a “product” that is so emotionally charged.
First up, I suspect, will be the TV rights. Negotiations of which are due soon. In the PL Income is distributed relatively fairly. Make no mistake, the owners are aiming for a more top-heavy La Liga style distribution.
What is coming thereafter, when the outrage has died down and we’re back to arguing about VAR, is where the rot will really set in, and it’ll be a lot harder to spot.
So how do we prevent this? I fear the answer is “we can’t”. Full reviews and regulations/restrictions of ownership structures will be needed, but when it comes to fan outrage v’s the cash reserves of petrostates, there’ll only ever be one winner. Before it came to be, everyone supported the theory of Financial Fair Play. Once it was “tweaked” and put into practice, it was so subtley watered down that us laymen couldn’t see the loopholes. What we’re left with now is pretty meaningless. Only someone with (1) balls of steel, (2) massive influence and (3) a pinpoint moral compass at the helms of FIFA / UEFA / FA make the necessary changes to prevent this. The problem is that point number 3 will actually hinder you in such organisations.
All this won’t be done in a big bag, it’ll be more gradual, and us frogs won’t notice until we’re well and truly boiled.
Big D, Luxembourg
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