The almost annual discussion of a European Super League left pure speculation this season and moved into a more concrete form after six Barclays Premier League teams, three La Liga teams, and three Serie A teams made their proposal and plans for a breakaway European Super League official. It was soon shut down. However, discussions of football’s make-up continue. Leagues merging with one another has been embraced as a viable solution to ensure that certain groups of clubs have a more secure financial footing, a more constant revenue stream. A Dutch-Belgian league, and All-Ireland league and a Scandinavian league – after the failed Royal League (which was essentially a Scandinavian Champions League) of the mid-2000s – have all been mentioned by the respective nations’ football authorities. It could all happen.
These merger leagues want to create unique and thrilling products to be able to compete with top-tier leagues like the Barclays Premier League. Celtic (and Rangers) have always been floated as teams which could well join a Scandinavian league, to leave the Scottish League which they have dominated for many years and join a ‘more competitive’ league. However, there’s an age-old argument that, given the opportunity, Celtic (and Rangers) could become forces to be reckoned with if they joined the Barclays Premier League. Would they want to form a British Super League, though?
The Best of the Best
Every spectator wants to see the best of the best compete against each other. Whether that be GGPoker UK ambassadors Fedor Holz and Daniel Negreanu sitting at a table with other poker stars or Roger Federer versus Rafael Nadal in Grand Slam finals for the one-thousandth time – it’s all in the pursuit of the ultimate tests of sporting ability. The spectacles we all want to see. One of the benefits then, from an audience’s point of view, is that fans of English teams and Celtic (and Rangers) will see their favourites play top-tier opponents more regularly than they have before and more than other competitions like the Champions League and Europa League can offer.
If these high-profile games become common, though, do they lose their aura? Many fans would say yes. Football is a low-scoring game. The events which fans want rarely occur. Scoring goals is hard work. Supporters of the sport are already predisposed to wait, to be patient, to hope. This extends to certain teams facing other trams. The fact that Celtic could play Barcelona once or twice in a Champions League tournament is savoured. When it happens, the elation and excitement is obvious, and, of course, it’s wanted all over again. However, the ‘could’ is part of the sport. It’s the chance to play them, that Celtic must earn the right to play them, is that what football fans want to see. Leicester City’s infamous 2015/2016 title win will likely never happen again if Super Leagues are created.
As things stand, Celtic often dominate the Scottish Premier League. Rangers were liquidated in 2012 after financial turmoil and Newco Rangers entered Scottish football pyramid from the fourth tier. The size and power of these clubs allows one of them to dominate in Scotland. They are global clubs. This would translate into the new environment of a British Super League. Of course, their revenue would increase. TV deals and new global exposure in what is the biggest domestic league in the world would guarantee sponsors and income. It’s growth, of course, and would put them in a strong position to reach the latter stages of the Champions League.
What it is, though, is new. Traditions will become history – what has been and will never be again. Some fans won’t take to this. Celtic fans are happy competing in the Scottish Premier League, battling within their own gladiatorial environment, seeking riches on their own scale and time. Though, given the chance, they may well like to see Celtic, in whatever form it is, be in the Champions League final. The question is, as it always will be, ‘what do fans want?’