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English Premier League threads [Merged]

Panthera Tigris

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Apr 27, 2010
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Oligarchy’s gamed soccer play finds Europe’s moral Rubicon​

Cartelising sport to benefit mogul team owners might work in the US. But European fans gave the red card to the capitalist takeover that gave small clubs no chance at all of winning.

Yanis Varoufakis
Apr 27, 2021 – 12.38pm
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Europe has discovered its moral Rubicon, the frontier beyond which commodification becomes intolerable. The line in the sand that Europeans refuse to cross, come what may, has just been drawn.
We bowed to bankers who almost blew up capitalism, bailing them out at the expense of our weakest citizens. We turned a blind eye to wholesale corporate tax evasion and fire sales of public assets.
We accepted as natural the impoverishment of public health and education systems, the despair of workers on zero-hour contracts, soup kitchens, home evictions and mind-numbing levels of inequality. We stood by as our democracies were hijacked and Big Tech stripped us of our privacy. All of this we could stomach.
But a plan that would end soccer as we know it? Never.
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A protest banner hangs from the gates of Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground. AP
Last week, Europeans showed the red card to the moguls – and their financiers – who tried to steal the beautiful game. A potent coalition of conservatives, leftists and nationalists, uniting Europe’s north and south, rose up in opposition to a secret deal by the owners of many of the continent’s richest soccer clubs to form a so-called Super League.



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To the owners – including a Russian oligarch, an Arab royal, a Chinese retail magnate and three American sports potentates – the move made obvious financial sense. But from the perspective of the European public, it was the last straw.
Last season, 32 clubs qualified to play in Europe’s Champions League, sharing €2 billion ($2.4 billion) in revenues from television rights. But half of the clubs, teams such as Real Madrid and Liverpool, attracted the bulk of the European television audiences. Their owners could see that the pie would increase substantially by scheduling more derbies between the likes of Liverpool and Real Madrid, rather than matches featuring lowly sides from Greece, Switzerland and Slovakia.
The complete elimination of hope, however distant capitalism had rendered it, provided the spark that stopped soccer’s oligarchy in its tracks.
And so it was that the Super League proposal was hatched. Instead of sharing €2 billion between 32 clubs, the top 15 clubs calculated they could divide €4 billion among themselves.
Moreover, by creating a closed shop, with the same clubs every year, regardless of how well they perform in their national championships, the Super League would remove the colossal financial risk that all clubs face today: failing to qualify for next year’s Champions League.
From a financier’s perspective, kicking out the laggards and forming a closed cartel was the logical next step in a process of commodification that began long ago. Here was a deal that would quadruple future income streams and remove risk by turning those streams into a securitised asset. Is it any wonder that JPMorgan Chase rushed in to finance the deal with a golden-handshake offer of €300 million to each of the 15 clubs that agreed to leave the Champions League behind?

Whereas the Brexit saga lasted years, this particular breakaway attempt collapsed within two days. Whatever the financial logic behind the Super League, its plotters had failed to consider an intangible yet irresistible force: the widespread conviction among fans, players, coaches, communities and entire societies that they, not the tycoons, were the true owners of Liverpool, Juventus, Barcelona and the rest.
And who could blame the owners for not seeing it coming? No one protested when they floated their clubs’ shares on stock exchanges alongside McDonald’s and Barclays. For years, fans watched passively as oligarchs poured billions into a few leading clubs, killing off all real competition by packing their rosters with the world’s great players.
But while the European public could tolerate that the probability of a laggard ever winning anything had fallen close to zero, the Super League would officially take that chance the rest of the way.
Maximising profits would now mean the formal extinction of the possibility even to dream that a lowly team like Stoke City or Athens’ Panionios could one day win the Champions League. The complete elimination of hope, however distant capitalism had rendered it, provided the spark that stopped soccer’s oligarchy in its tracks.
Meanwhile, in the United States, even cynical sports moguls understand that free-market capitalism chokes competition.
The US National Football League is a paragon of aggressive competitiveness, and not only because super-fit players sacrifice their health for wealth, acclaim and a shot at Super Bowl glory. The NFL is competitive because it imposes on its teams a strict salary cap, while the weakest are guaranteed their pick of the best rookie players.
American capitalism sacrificed the free market to save competition, minimise predictability and maximise excitement. Central planning lives in sin with unbridled competition – directly under the spotlight of American show business.
If the objective is an exciting, financially sustainable football league, the American model is what Europe needs. But if Europeans are serious about their claim that the clubs ought to belong to the fans, players and communities from which they draw support, they should demand that clubs’ shares be removed from the stock exchange and the principle of one member-one share-one vote is enshrined into law.
The ESL has exposed the difference between business’s ‘stakeholder’ talk and actions in pursuit of profits.

RELATED​

Soccer’s social licence red card

The crucial question of whether the oligarchy should be regulated or dismantled extends well beyond sports. Will US President Joe Biden’s spending and regulation agenda suffice to rein in the unbridled power of the few to destroy the prospects of the many? Or does genuine reform demand a radical rethink of who owns what?
Now that Europeans discovered their moral Rubicon, the time may have come for a broader rebellion that vindicates Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool manager and staunch socialist. “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death,” Shankly famously said. “I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.”
Yanis Varoufakis, a former finance minister of Greece, is leader of the MeRA25 party and Professor of Economics at the University of Athens.
 
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Harry

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Mar 2, 2003
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find it a bit ironic fans of Man City, Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool etc enjoy team success on the back of the billions their owners put in then jump up and down when the owners want to join the super league to make some extra cash. These clubs no longer belong to the fans. Money has bought them success and without it they would be in the third division.
 

Ricemagic

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Feb 8, 2021
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find it a bit ironic fans of Man City, Chelsea, Man U, Liverpool etc enjoy team success on the back of the billions their owners put in then jump up and down when the owners want to join the super league to make some extra cash. These clubs no longer belong to the fans. Money has bought them success and without it they would be in the third division.
It's not the extra cash that is really the problem, it's the breaking down of the pyramid structure in England. (UEFA is including more European spots so they have a better chance of playing in European nights).

You can't have just those clubs think they're the whole hog and everyone else bad luck. Imagine 6 clubs from the AFL decide to break away pre-2017, we probably wouldn't have been invited.

And they're basing it on a popularity contest, not results driven. Spurs no title since 1961, Arsenal about 18 years. I haven't looked but I'd be pretty confident the last five years Leicester have better total points tally than Liverpool, Spurs, Man Utd and Arsenal.

Why at the time they're better than most of those clubs, the others decide to pull this move. it's like the sook who is getting beaten and picks up the ball and takes it home because the other guy is better than them.

I'm a Liverpool fan but Leicester, West Ham, Wolves have got just as good a right as us to play in magic European nights.
 
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Ricemagic

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Feb 8, 2021
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Leeds will have to fall over to lose against Spurs, 3-1 in the 90th minute.
They have had a great first year, just four points of a Europa spot. That's why the big clubs are panicking and want guaranteed European spots and no competition, because Leicester have become a regular European qualifier, West Ham are close, Everton, Villa and Leeds all on the up and competing quite well.
 

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TigerForce

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Apr 26, 2004
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Looks like The Special One's got AS Roma fooled. How does this bloke do it. Must be the best salesman in the world.
 
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Ricemagic

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Feb 8, 2021
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Looks like The Special One's got AS Roma fooled. How does this bloke do it. Must be the best salesman in the world.
Someone probably forgot to tell them it'll only be short-term appointment and if they were wanting a long-term coach, they got the wrong guy.

On another note, As Roma share prices went up 30% so probably the owner new he'd be a good marketing stream and increase fan and media interest while he's with them for 12-18 months......