Billionaire owners treat English football as ‘their personal fiefdom’

Super League
Support us and go ad-free

Threats of sanctions, the sacking of a manager and disgust from fans and football legends. It’s hard to keep up with football news since the announcement that six of England’s biggest clubs are to join a European Super League (ESL). Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool are joining twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs to found the breakaway league.

This is a disgusting show of self-interest when some smaller clubs are struggling to survive the pandemic. And it’s creating a lot of anger among the footballing public.

“Cynical greed”

The Football Supporters’ Association argues that the clubs are “motivated by nothing but cynical greed”.

It argues:

This competition is being created behind our backs by billionaire club owners who have zero regard for the game’s traditions and continue to treat football as their personal fiefdom.

The ESL goes against the very point of what football is about. It should be about fighting for promotion, battling against relegation, and competing for their place in competitions. Instead, the richest want to form an untouchable elite group where, as founding members, relegation could be a thing of the past. The clubs could make roughly £300 million of revenue every season.

UEFA, the Premier League and others have threatened the clubs with sanctions. They’ve said ESL players “could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams”. Meanwhile, in a show of elitist arrogance, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea have all resigned from the European Club Association: the body representing 246 leading European clubs.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
“A war on football”

Tottenham manager José Mourinho is the first of the ESL managers to be sacked by his club. This happened just hours after Tottenham announced its spot in the ESL. Mourinho was supposedly sacked for poor form, but rumours suggest it could be otherwise.

Meanwhile football legends, who themselves are worth millions, have been vocal in their disgust at the “rich getting richer”. Rio Ferdinand argued:

This is, for me, a war on football. It’s a disgrace…it’s embarrassing, and it goes against everything that football’s about. It’s a closed shop for these bigwigs and it’s completely and utterly only about one thing, and that’s money: the rich getting richer and the others not even being considered.

Ferdinand went on to say, “it’s purely a business transaction. That’s it”.

The alternatives

Over the past two decades we’ve seen the English Premier League change at an alarming rate. Massive corporate-sponsored stadiums have replaced small grounds. And twelve international billionaire investors have used the game as a business opportunity with lucrative returns.

The billionaire club owners are worth a massive $90.8 billion. On top of this, the average annual salary for a Premier League player is £3 million. The hunger for profit has denied the average football fan of being able to go and see their favourite team play. The most expensive ticket to see Arsenal play one home game at the Emirates stadium will set you back a massive £97.

So, what’s the alternative? Back in 2019, Corbyn promised to overhaul football, saying that he would legislate so that:

supporters’ trusts had the right to appoint, and sack, at least two members of a club’s board of directors

and

give supporters’ trusts the right to purchase shares in a club when it changed hands.

While this is better than the current model, it’s not quite as inspiring as non-league, anti-fascist club Clapton Community FC, which is 100% fan-owned and run. Clapton shows a model of how the beautiful game could run, if only profit wasn’t the driving force. Maybe it’s time we all turn our backs on the likes of Arsenal and support small teams like Clapton CFC. And the cost of entry into their ground? Free.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. FIFA and Europe are taking this colonization very lightly. I don’t think these American billionaires could legally do the same with NFL’s “New England Patriots” etc. The sports commission charter is government protected from the usual constitutional rights ordinary citizens enjoy…..down to the rules, how they treat their employees etc. Funny that they can get UEFA members to just “break away” like that! You should research and do an article on that outrage!

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.