Soccer is a game, a sport, a hobby, a competition, a leisure time, a way of sharing and socializing, a show, an entertainment, an identity, an emotion, a passion … But, without a doubt, it is also a business that monetizes the passions of society. For this reason, although soccer began as a sport with a business ingredient, today it is part of the entertainment industry.
The announcement last Sunday of a European Super League generated an earthquake in the world of football. Three Italian teams (Juventus, Inter and Milan), three Spanish (Real Madrid, Barcelona FC and Atlético de Madrid) and six English (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and Manchester City) embarked on the same project as Within a few days he began to stagger.
Despite criticism from many fans and strong pressure from Uefa and Fifa against those dozen teams, it had to be a call from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, admonishing the six “rebel” clubs in the Premier League, the one that unleashed the rout. The British government threatened to tighten the regulations to sign foreign players thanks to Brexit and to implement in England a rule similar to that of 50 + 1 that prevails in Germany, leaving the most important decisions and the fate of the club in the hands of the fans. Faced with the possibility of seeing their decision-making capacity reduced in a business in which they have invested hundreds of millions of dollars, the owners of the six major Premier League clubs ended up “getting out” of the Super League. The rest was just a chain reaction.
Paradoxically, Fifa and its subsidiary for Europe, Uefa, are Swiss non-profit organizations that own the monopoly of one of the largest global industries, since they gave themselves in their own statutes the power to authorize and organize international competitions professional football. In this simple way, and through sanctions and prohibitions, they manage to deter the arrival of new competitors to the football market and defend their dominant position. Even the management of Fifa does not guarantee the fulfillment of objectives of general interest or transparent criteria that avoid the existence of conflicts of interest, as could be seen with the well-known Fifa Gate scandal or the election of Qatar as the venue for the World Cup of the World Cup. 2022.
In reality, the underlying discussion is on the business model: industry or sport. Business or passion. On the one hand, there is the North American model of the NFL where you play little and win a lot; and, on the other hand, the Uefa model of more parties, more TV, more sponsorship and, “therefore”, more income. However, as Juan Pablo Varsky said, “improving the product means playing less” and, in that case, it is essential to bring together the best, bring together the elite.
The Super League was a good idea and if it didn’t break in right now, it will later. The attacks and criticism orchestrated by those who fear that “their” business will run out will surely continue, but it is the only possible solution; it is the inevitable evolution that is making its way and football is no exception. This is how the free market works, while in a planned economy it is the government that decides what should exist.