Failed ESL hangs over Champions League as nouveau riche take on Real Madrid
The cloud of a collapsed Super League project hangs over this week’s Champions League semi-finals with three of the four clubs involved — Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea — among the breakaway 12 that shook European football.
Paris Saint-Germain did not sign up to the proposals, which crumbled within 48 hours of being announced last week due to a fierce backlash from fans, players, governments, national leagues, UEFA and FIFA.
However, the clash between PSG and City on Wednesday is illustrative of the forces which drove some of European football’s more established powers, led by Madrid president Florentino Perez, to seek the financial reassurances of a closed league format.
Under the proposals, 15 founding members would be guaranteed their place in a 20-team competition, split into two leagues of 10 with the top sides in each progressing to the quarter-finals.
On top of ensuring revenue from TV rights and sponsorship of more games between the European elite, a key part of the breakaway plan concocted by the ‘dirty dozen’ was to control costs.
A much-criticised statement to launch the league last Sunday said: “The competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all founding clubs signing up to a spending framework.”
– Hyper-inflated transfer market –
Backed by the state wealth of Abu Dhabi and Qatar respectively, City and PSG have played leading roles in the inflated costs of player transfers and wages in recent years and been far less affected by the economic crunch of the coronavirus pandemic over the last 12 months.
City’s spending power has blown away the competition even in the lucrative Premier League.
Pep Guardiola’s men are closing in on a third league title in four years and on Sunday won a fourth consecutive League Cup…..read more