The scandalous soccer Super League where only the richest clubs in Europe were to compete
Neoliberalism is to sport what a goal is to a goalkeeper. This is not a story of fair play, but money.
MORE IN THIS SECTION
The voices of the moralists are beginning to agree on a feeling that is becoming general: football moves too much money, in Spain and in Europe.
It is no longer a question of star players being paid absolutely astronomical sums, but that speculation in the broadcasting rights market is coming to undermine the very foundations and whys and wherefores of sporting competition.
Let's take a step-by-step approach to understand what has happened:
On 19 April, the creation of a Super League of 12 clubs was announced, the most powerful clubs in Europe: three English, three Spanish and three Italian, leaving almost all the others out of the new competition.
The criterion for being selected or not was purely economic, above any other kind of merit. Reactions were swift, and two days later only three teams were still in the boat.
The creators of this new competition were not very tactful when it came to announcing their invention: they made public their founding manifesto only a few hours after UEFA presented the change of format of the Champions League.
The mess has been such that it has even led to protest demonstrations, such as the one staged by Chelsea fans.
In the specific case of Real Madrid, the controversy has erupted because its president, Florentino Pérez, promoted the Super League project without having consulted with the club's members, when the statutes obliged him to do so.
They were not the only ones to reject the project: Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, spoke out radically against the creation of the Super League a few minutes after the initiative was launched. Infantino denounced an attempt to turn European sports institutions into private businesses.
The traditional tension between clubs, federations and governments finally exploded.
What Florentino Pérez and his supporters wanted seemed to be an attempt at a monopoly in order to monopolize the media coverage of matches during the season. And he has been criticized: Pep Guardiola, Manchester City manager and former FC Barcelona player and coach, said that "It is not sport when there is no relationship between effort and reward".
The feeling among sports journalists was that the proposal had been made late and badly, and that in the whole imbroglio the fans of the teams had not been taken into account at any time. Enrique Yunta (ABC) headlined his article on April 24 with the expression: "A world ridicule".
This would suggest that the unbridled lust for business is possibly overshadowing the very meaning of sporting competition, which is what would matter least in this Super League of financial giants.