While twelve top clubs from Italy, Spain and England want to build a billion-dollar Super League, three European heavyweights, BVB, FC Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain, are waving away. Given the chance of big money, one question arises: why?
The time of the announcement alone left enough room for interpretation: at 0.22 am in the night from Sunday to Monday, the twelve so-called “founding members of the Super League” collectively blew their official press releases into the virtual airwaves. A time at which many working people in Europe are already in bed.
Elsewhere, for example in the USA, it was in the middle of the day (west coast) or at most early evening (east coast), the Chinese population had just woken up. The night and fog action of the “dirty dozen”, as the furious UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin was to call the breakaway clubs just a few hours later, was not aimed at the fan base, it was aimed at the residents of the “new” , lucrative markets.
No wonder, since both the sponsor of the commercial spectacle (JPMorgan) and a number of owners of the participating clubs have their residence and company headquarters on the other side of the Atlantic or in the Middle or Far East. Arsenal FC, Liverpool, Manchester United and AC Milan are in the hands of US investors, while Inter Milan is owned by the Chinese industrial group Suning Group.
The anger of those actually affected only broke out later, on Monday morning. Fans protested against the procedure, some published letters of termination of their membership, banners were hung on the legendary Anfield Road, the cult venue of Liverpool FC.
Super League: BVB, Bayern and PSG not included
Former and active footballers also clearly opposed the plans. The basic tenor: With the introduction of the Super League, the clubs betray their values, only represent economic interests, and deliberately oppose their supporters.
Three European heavyweights did not issue a press release that night. The French long-term prime minister Paris Saint-Germain, Germany’s record champions Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are not among the illustrious circle of those who want to stay among themselves on the international stage from now on.
But why does the trio, which would be extremely interesting for the initiators of the Super League in view of its charisma, refrain from participating?
PSG has one thing in common with many of the Super League clubs: the capital city club is also in the hands of a foreign investor. The Qatari businessman Nasser Al-Khelaifi, chairman of the investment company Qatar Sports Investment, is president and chairman of the board at the same time for the Parisians.
Al-Khelaifi’s endeavors to create an equally attractive and lucrative Champions League are correspondingly high.
If his club PSG were also to leave the Champions League, that would mean, conversely, that popular players such as Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, who have a large following around the globe – especially the younger generation – would no longer be with beIN Sports – which would obviously have a negative impact on audience ratings and related revenues, and perhaps even make the competition entirely obsolete for many potential viewers.