How Soon Could We See The European Super League?
Bookmakers are sceptical about the proposed European Super League (ESL) getting off the ground any time soon with Paddy Power offering 5/6 on the Premier League clubs involved failing to play an ESL game before 2025.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal are among 12 major clubs who have agreed to take part in the breakaway division, which would see them enter a league with other European heavyweights such as Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Atletico Madrid plus three Italian teams – Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan – complete the dozen, but the proposal has been greeted with a wave of anger from football supporters all over the continent.
A poll carried out by YouGov with 1,730 respondents found over 79% of fans are against the idea, with the desire for such a tournament seemingly manufactured by club owners. Other polls with even more respondents had similar findings.
Are you for or against the proposed European Super League? ⚽🤔— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) April 18, 2021
The general consensus among the football fraternity is that a lack of regard has been shown for fans, tradition, sporting integrity and perhaps even a disregard for the players too, with UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin suggesting players representing any breakaway clubs will be banned from competing for their country in the World Cup and European Championships.
All of which has fans clinging to the hope that the proposal will not come to fruition and bookies are behind that train of thought, at least for the time being.
European Super League Odds
A statement from the ESL said the competition "intended to commence as soon as practicable" but Paddy Power go odds-on (5/6) that we don’t see an ESL match involving a Premier League team within the next four years.
Former Premier League player Nigel Winterburn is similarly sceptical, although he stopped short of ridiculing the idea until further clarification of the detail comes to light.
“It’s all gone mad really, there’s a lot of anger out there and I can understand why,” Winterburn told Gambling.com.
“For the moment, I’d prefer to get more clarification, but I have to admit it sounds rather sneaky from where I’m standing.
“I would like to find out a lot more about what is supposedly going to happen, because there could be some really big implications for clubs involved and clubs not involved.
“We’ve only really got a brief outline of the format. There’s so many questions people would like answered. At the moment, people are angry because it feels like a money-making machine for the biggest clubs.
“Are the rest of the teams completely excluded or is there any way they can enter in to it? I can’t work out in my head how all of this is going to work.
“For me, if this is just about the elite trying to break away on their own then, obviously, I would be completely against it.”
Is Greed The Driving Force?
Tottenham and Arsenal being included in the proposals has raised a few eyebrows with both teams at a low ebb and looking unlikely to finish in the Premier League top six this season.
Although an Arsenal supporter, Winterburn is concerned about how the ESL committee arrived at the decision to include both north London clubs instead of, for example, less marketable but better performing teams such as Leicester and West Ham.
“I’d like to know how they picked these 12 teams precisely,” he said.
“I know the Champions League has had it’s problems and they’re looking at shaking up the group stages, but at least you have to qualify for the competition. It’s not always the same teams every year.
“The Super League seems to be the opposite of that, an exclusive club almost. So it’s no surprise people are angry about this announcement, but I myself just want more clarification on exactly what is happening, where it’s going, what we can expect, can any of the 12 teams be replaced, that sort of thing.
“It all seems very messy to me. There’s going to be a lot of resistance no matter what the details are though.
“Fans are already livid and we’ve only really had a snippet of information come out, so we can expect a few more headlines over the coming weeks.”
Indeed, Tottenham have been making other headlines themselves amid the sacking of Jose Mourinho on Monday morning.
The Portuguese lasted just 17 months at Spurs and had been under pressure for a number of weeks, but the timing of the decision came as a surprise with Tottenham set to take part in the League Cup final this Sunday.
Spurs Searching For New Boss
Mourinho was brought in for his track record of winning trophies but the opportunity has now been taken away from him, though Winterburn believes the Tottenham hierarchy are right to part ways if they have already decided to head in a different direction.
“I could never understand the decision to bring in Mourinho because of his style of play, unless the plan was always for Tottenham to go in that direction in order to win a trophy,” he said.
“So I’m not surprised that it has ended this way, but I am surprised at the timing, because I would have thought he’d be given to the end of the season and the opportunity to win silverware in the League Cup final.
“But to look at it another way, if the club had already decided that this is not what they want, then you may as well make that decision with immediate effect.
“If their mind was made up, then why wait? Obviously, they had made up their minds already. There has been a fair bit of talk about it for some time so it’s not overly surprising to me that they have parted ways.
“I watched their game last week and, although it’s hard to read too much into body language, I didn’t think he looked too interested. But then sometimes Jose is just like that anyway, so who knows what the real reason is, it could be a combination of things.”
Bookmakers have outlined Julian Nagelsmann as the favourite for the vacancy, but Winterburn believes Spurs will bide their time before making their next move, with Chris Powell and Ryan Mason set to take charge of first team affairs for now.
“I would imagine they will not bring in a permanent replacement until the summer,” said Winterburn. “That way they can wait to see what options are available to them.
“We’ve been through this before with other jobs and trying to pluck names out of the air just for the sake of it really isn’t going to make much difference when trying to analyse who they should get in to replace him.
“We’ve all seen the odds, but sometimes the favourites are so far away from the reality of the situation it’s just untrue.
“But I think they’ll look to bring in someone better suited to the style of football Tottenham like to play, someone who can progress the club on and off the field and try to win something.
“The Premier League and domestic cups are so competitive now, it’s not going to be easy. But to be completely honest with you, I’m not really bothered who they bring in, being an Arsenal man.
“We’ll just have to wait and see if we can get a better idea of the shortlist closer to the summer.”
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers (8/1) and Fulham boss Scott Parker (14/1), a former Tottenham midfielder of course, are both thought to be in the running, though Nagelsmann is the early favourite (4/1).
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