Eleven of Europe’s top association soccer teams announced on April 18 their intention to form a new “Super League,” with all involved exiting their respective domestic competitions.
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur are the 12 teams officially joining the organizations, while Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Leicester City and Paris Saint-Germain serving as four of the most conspicuous absences from the league.
The league is projected to field a 20-team field, with 15 of those being founding members that are safe from relegation each season. The remaining five would be selected based on their accomplishments in their respective domestic leagues in the previous season.
The competition is hoping to get underway around Aug. 2021, a quick timeline for an organization for which there is still so much unknown.
Many around the soccer world raged about the decision, thought to bring an end to the sport as it is known and loved by millions. On April 19, Aleksander Ceferin, president of the Union of European Football Associations, said that any players who were involved in the Super League breakaway would be banned from playing in the World Cup and European championships. Additionally, UEFA executive Jesper Moller announced that he expected the three remaining Champions League teams involved (Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid) to be removed from the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
This move would either hand the title to Paris Saint-Germain, or perhaps lead to the furthest advancing clubs who did not join the Super League to take their place.
The Super League may also affect various domestic seasons. Pundit and former Manchester United player Gary Neville ripped the clubs involved, saying that they should have points deducted in their current league race. The Premier League is meeting Tuesday, without the so-called Big Six, to determine their next steps.
There will also be staunch financial punishment levied upon the clubs who join the league, potentially limiting the initial profit that will step from the new top league in European football.
Soccer fans across the world are bemoaning the league’s formation, with the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust calling it the “death of Arsenal as a sporting institution.” International tournaments like the World Cup could never be the same without the greatest players in the world participating.
Now, that we have covered the sad part of this announcement, we can take a look at the lone fun aspect: projecting how the season would go. First, with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain reportedly against the league’s formation and Leicester City’s lack of association with the Big Six, I will project that the league’s final eight spots will be filled by Ajax, Atalanta, FC Porto, Lille, Lyon, Napoli, RB Leipzig and Sevilla.
This comprises a large portion of the world’s top clubs and will lead to great football, game in and game out. However, there will be a hierarchy in the league, and I would project the winner to be Manchester City.
Manchester City was my pick in the Champions League this year before their projected expulsion, and there are few teams who will be able to compete with their immense depth over the course of a full season with few rest games. Possible competitors include Manchester United, currently second in the Premier League, and La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Another fun aspect of this league is the great matchups that we would see over the course of the season. There would no longer be seasons without Messi vs. Ronaldo. We would get to see Van Dijk vs. Ramos. The possibilities are endless, and Champions League knockouts will no longer deprive us of those great opportunities.
News of the Super League formation has permeated down into the world of college sports. The Tufts men’s soccer team even announced on Instagram that they would not be joining the Super League and were going to remain members of the NESCAC.
Despite the possible entertainment value, this is still an upsetting day for world soccer. It shows a newfound lack of unity with domestic leagues, as top clubs were quick to exit to increase profit margins. Hopefully, a solution will be reached that maintains the sanctity of the sport alive, denying the globalization of a format that has existed for years.