The Threat Of Possible European Super League

Trust chair Keith Morgan

Trust chair Keith Morgan, who is a football finance expert, gives his view on the impact of a possible European Super League in football.

The possibility of some of the biggest European teams breaking away from their domestic leagues to join in a “closed shop” European Super League has been discussed on more than a few occasions in the past and usually dismissed as highly unlikely to happen. However, the threat has never actually gone away.

At the AGM of the Football Supporters Association (the merged body of the previous Supporters Direct and Football Supporters Federation) at the end of June this year , the topic came to the fore again because it would appear that discussions have been held again recently between such clubs and media bodies with a view to progressing such plans.

It is rumoured that a league , if formed , would include having a number of its games televised live at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon as part of a media package negotiated for the benefit of participating clubs only.

The question that many fans might ask is “Well, how will that impact on me or my club?” Surely it only impacts on the Premier League and its bigger clubs? Actually , no , for the following reasons.

The current TV deal with Premier League clubs is highly lucrative and virtually all clubs at the top level are crucially dependent upon it for their financial wellbeing. If that funding were to be removed because TV companies want to reinvest instead in a Super League it would mean that those in the Premier League left behind would see most of their income disappear. Furthermore , the money that cascades down to the lower divisions by way of parachute payments and loyalty payments would also disappear, so the impact on all League clubs would also be great. A further adverse impact would be the draw of live Saturday TV coverage of the “big” games taking away crucial match attendance numbers from clubs.

The FSA (and its European counterpart) is actively lobbying clubs and the football authorities in an effort to reduce the risk of the above scenario happening either in the short or the long term.