European Super League

 

Sir, – It’s more than a little ironic that the British government should object so stridently to British football clubs “taking back control” from Europe. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY HOGAN,

Gran Canaria,

Spain.

Sir, – Ken Early rightly says about the European Super League: “It’s a naked power-grab by a self-appointed group of clubs who want to set themselves up as a permanent aristocracy” (“Super League’s power-grab aims for a permanent aristocracy”, Sport, Opinion, April 19th).

Clearly, Jurgen Klopp agrees with your columnist that the proposed new league doesn’t serve the best interests of the wider game.

The Liverpool manager said in 2019: “I hope this Super League will never happen . . . why should we create a system where Liverpool faces Real Madrid for 10 straight years? Who wants to see that every year?”

Like most football fans, I want to continue watching existing historic, bitter and truly meaningful domestic rivalries between clubs from the same national leagues rather than follow a shiny but repetitive set of soulless pan-European “glamour” fixtures. – Yours, etc,

JOE McCARTHY,

Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.

Sir, – The coverage, over the past day or so, of the draw for this summer’s hurling and football championships was the best antidote I could have wished for to counter news pertaining to soccer’s Super League “manoeuvre” by its already grossly wealthy backers.

Despite my criticism of the GAA at times, it is irrefutable that the association’s richness lies in its nation-wide community roots, a heritage which cannot be purchased and abused by any magnitude of gazillionaire. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL GANNON,

Kilkenny.

Sir, – I write to fully endorse the article by Dr Declan Jordan concerning the potential creation of a European Super League (“Breakaway another step towards globalisation”, Sport, Opinion, April 20th).

I have been involved with soccer in England at community level for nearly 50 years and fully echo Dr Jordan’s sentiments that supporting your local team brings real enjoyment. I am looking forward to doing so in Ireland once I am able to do so.

Not only can you enjoy supporting a League of Ireland team but if there is not one close to you, a real experience of friendship and camaraderie can also be obtained by watching and getting involved at all levels of the game with your local club. Even the experience of going to different grounds and meeting the people who run the clubs brings its own rewards. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT HOLMES,

Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Sir, – I share the mass outpouring of angst at the private equity teams of English and EU soccer riding off into the sunset with the loot from the TV rights. But my outrage is compounded by the complete disregard for the Irish soccer clubs, with no invitation at all for Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers or St Pat’s, etc. What hope now for Irish football? – Yours, etc,

TOMÁS FINN,

Cappataggle,

Ballinasloe,

Co Galway.

Sir, – An avid football fan, I am concerned by the impending European Super League (ESL) which threatens the fabric of European football. Designed to promote stable profits for a select few, the ESL’s franchise football model contravenes decades of history and meritocratic competition. Immediate regulatory intervention is imperative to save a cherished European public interest.

Football is a pan-European passion which transcends national borders. It epitomises the EU’s “united in diversity” motto and is rightly admired across the globe. Europe’s football clubs are not mere businesses. They are anchored in decades of meritocratic prowess and rollercoasters of shared emotion, not balance sheets and sponsorship deals. These clubs, and the Europeans that have built them, are the lifeblood of cities and regions across Europe and the standard-bearer of their culture and traditions. Pursuing profit at all costs – and disavowing the very meritocratic competitions to which the breakaway clubs owe their fame – is an affront to their founding principles.

Regulatory intervention in sport has long generated political sensitivities. The European Commission, hamstrung by European anti-trust laws, appears unlikely to intervene. But many national regulators – including in the UK – have an arsenal of far-reaching regulatory tools to intervene on “public interest” grounds. Ambitious legislation requiring changes to “fan-based” ownership structures should be considered seriously. Only a last-ditch regulatory tackle will preserve any vestiges of romanticism in Europe’s beautiful game. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN CULLEN,

Brussels.

Sir, – Can we have a Super League formed every week from now on? It is the first time football has provided me with entertainment; albeit in the form of witnessing the anguish of men on social media who have not played the game since leaving school, if ever. – Yours, etc,

JUDITH GOLDBERGER,

Donnybrook,

Dublin 4.

Sir, – While I enjoy Premier League football from England, and the often bizarre soap opera that accompanies it, I find the pseudo-morality of Uefa risible. Surely in backing a World Cup for Qatar it jettisoned all ethical credibility. Its criticism of a new European Super League, to operate outside its control, as a “cynical project founded on self-interest” brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s phrase about overt displays of patriotism – “the last refuge of the scoundrel”. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale, Co Cork.