Soccer America columnist and Episode 49 guest Ian Plenderleith ("Rock 'n' Roll Soccer: The Short Life and Fast Times of the North American Soccer League") returns to the show for our initial hot take on the ill-fated "Super League" - a long-rumored, big-money elite European club tournament concept that is already being left for dead a mere two days after its official launch on April 18th.
Stealthily announced on the eve of a UEFA Executive Committee meeting set to revamp and expand an already-lucrative Champions League competition, the breakaway Super League aimed to expedite the process by way of a new 20-team circuit featuring 15 permanent "founding clubs" (supplemented by five annual qualifiers), each guaranteed bankable spots in each season's competition.
Among the twelve announced at launch were some of the richest soccer clubs on the planet: La Liga's Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid; Serie A's Inter Milan, Juventus and A.C. Milan; and six from the English Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.The reaction from the world's soccer establishment was swift in its condemnation and ferocious in its hostility - with some of the hottest protestations coming from the very fans of the proposed league's charter members, already wary of foreign investment in their domestic leagues. Plenderleith helps us understand how we got here, what happens in the immediate aftermath (especially to the "Treasonous Twelve") - and why the "Super League" will likely not be the last of efforts to squeeze more corporate riches from the peoples' "beautiful game."
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