The curtain is slowly coming down on the 2020/2021 football season around Europe with the various leagues all concluding before the start of June. Indeed, there is very much a school is out for the summer vibe around the continent as managers, players, and fans swap the pitch for a Mediterranean sun lounger on one of Europe’s pristine beaches. But they won’t be alone, though. Nearby to the comparatively basic setup on the beaches of Sardinia or Greece will be the owners of the richest clubs in Europe, away from the uncivilized goings-on of the shore and rather, circling the islands like sharks in their superyachts.
The world’s second largest private yacht is the Eclipse. She cost approximately USD500m to build and is owned by Russian businessman, Roman Abramovich. #superyacht #luxuryyacht #stmaarten #caribbean #shipspotting pic.twitter.com/tODwv8sMRY
— MarineTraffic (@MarineTraffic) April 30, 2018
Operating in this type of incognito way is not a foreign practice for these owners. In fact, the 2020/2021 season gave the football world a good indication of just how far they are willing to hide their identity when the heat gets turned up. Of course, this is in reference to the failed European Super League that exposed these owners like little has managed to do before. The whole saga was all over within 48 hours when fans from around the continent rallied together to stop it, prompting the most incredible scenes as clubs one by one washed their hands of the idea to form a closed shop at the top of European football.
In essence, the protests started after it was revealed that the 12 biggest clubs in European football were in the advanced stages of creating a league where there would be no promotion or relegation. It would have resembled something very similar to the top-flight in Australia where 12 teams compete but there is no relegation. For instance, the latest A-League betting may have odds on who will finish last, as the Newcastle Jets are currently predicted to do at 4/6 but, irrespective of whether that happens, the Jets will still be playing at the top level next season and will not suffer the ramifications of relegation.
In many ways, this format takes away the jeopardy of having a bad season but it seems to work in Australia because the country doesn’t have a footballing pyramid to speak of.
The consequences for European football, however, would have been unthinkable had it been adopted. Indeed, it would have cut off the oxygen supply to the leagues below and killed competitive football on the continent as we know it.
Now, whilst these billionaire owners may have gone from adamant to completely repentant within the time it takes for Amazon to bring an overnight delivery to your front door, there are still lingering concerns about when the next coup may be launched.
John W Henry’s message to Liverpool supporters. pic.twitter.com/pHW3RbOcKu
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 21, 2021
Indeed, fans aren’t the only party to come out of this dreadful scenario all the wiser for it, the owners of these clubs would have also learnt a lot, perhaps more in terms of what not to do when trying to change the structure of football in Europe, but they too will know how to now avoid the pitfalls they stumbled into in April. With so much money still to be made by forming a breakaway league, fans will need to remain vigilant because this is certain to come back in some shape or other.