The Week Soccer Died Then Was Brought Back to Life

Protests against European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021.

Photo from Adrian Dennis via Getty Images

Protests against European Super League outside of Stamford Bridge football stadium in London on April 20, 2021.

Gideon Myers, Contributing Writer

To preface my thoughts on the formation of the European Super League, one must understand the importance of soccer in Europe. Like no sport in the United States, soccer is in Europeans’ blood. The centuries of history each club boasts are more than a collection of meaningful moments of a fan’s favorite sports team: They see their team’s history as their own. To summarize, soccer is the heart of Europe. When a team is struggling, its city slumps into a depression. The passion within soccer is what makes the game so beautiful. It was early in the week. I had just heard about the formation of the European Super League: A league that combines Europe’s richest teams from each country’s respective national league to create a financial gold mine. For example, popular Spanish teams like F.C Barcelona and Real Madrid would be competing in a league against popular English teams like Chelsea F.C or Manchester United, commanding all of the view time soccer typically spreads out all the different leagues in Europe. A proposition such as this had never been brought to the world of soccer as it would effectively erase centuries of soccer’s history in Europe. The league’s supporters consisted of the affluent owners of the financially bloated European teams. Because these were the most popular clubs in Europe, the league would demand all the watch time, therefore earning more than any other league in soccer history.

After reading into the proposition a little bit, I realized the ESL (European Super League) would take the blood, passion, and history out of soccer. Instead of earning one’s money through domestic success, all of Europe’s famous clubs would make money regardless because of the view times they would command. As a soccer fan my whole life, I was upset. As a little kid, I remember idolizing the sport, watching every game I could feast my eyes on. Now, as a sixteen-year-old kid, the sport incomparably helps me. Whenever I feel like my mental health is in a bad place, I turn to soccer. The sport has lifted me out of my hardships, guided me through darkness, and assisted me with problems with anxiety and depression. To ruin something so dear to my heart was brutal for me to hear about. The European Super League would effectively erase each league’s history forever, leaving supporters completely empty-handed. It wasn’t fair to those like me who had fallen in love with the game throughout the years. My social media was flooded with protest, but it seemed as if the inevitable was going to happen. The affluent, selfish, greedy owners of the top teams in Europe were set on taking over the soccer world to make an inconceivable amount of money. There were other reasons soccer fans were devastated around the world: None of the top teams had to earn their spot in the Super League. Instead of having the statistically most successful teams enter the Super League, the owners of the Super League based team’s entry solely on their club’s monetary value. As former Manchester United defender Gary Neville said, “When success is guaranteed and it does not, matter if you lose, it is no longer a sport.”

How could someone be so evil to destroy one of the most important cultural aspects of Europe? I couldn’t believe a group of wealthy owners disregarded the masses’ wishes and instead pursued their desires. As the soccer world wilted and mourned the loss of the sport as they knew it, a saving grace came to the rescue. Chelsea F.C, an extremely popular club in London, backed out of the super league. After Chelsea exited, the rest of England’s top clubs followed. The Super League had fallen, and the soccer world was happy again. Just because the ESL had fallen does not mean my mindset about the decrepit state of the world has changed. This catastrophe taught me the true evil in people and how easy it is for someone to do something like this without any remorse. The second week of April 2021 will go down in history as the week that soccer was turned on its head. The sport I loved so much was once again restored to its full form.