Is the new European Super League the new NFL?

    • Helpful

    Here are the clubs who have debt that this Super League could have helped.

    Spurs - Let's be clear, Tottenham were lucky to even be involved, they are not a big club in European football. However, the league was clearly built on the top 15 clubs in terms of current value... Spurs are in that group. Tottenham's new stadium is a sump on them because fans are not in it and they have yet to sell naming rights.

    Real Madrid - This is a tricky one because Madrid has spent much of its recent history in debt, but it's often nonesense. I am not sure how deep into the sport people are here, but Real Madrid is known for always getting bailed out by the Spanish government, often in creative ways. The most famous example is the club selling its training ground to the government for a massive inflated price. The problem for the club is COVID increased the debt, while the pandemic alongside stircter financial rules in football and Spain's poor economy means the government cannot help. I personally think the government will step in eventually because Real Madrid is a thing of prestige for them.

    Barcelona - These are in real trouble, a billion in debt and with no- way out. I think they still owe hundreds of millions in transfer fees for players who have been there years (Coutinho, Dembele, etc.) and have largely failed. What happens with Barca now is anyone's guess.

    Italian clubs - I will group these together because they are in largely the same situation. AC Milan is slightly different because its debt is held on purpose for the American owners to take out dividends. Inter are being harmed by Chinese owners and new rules in China preventing spending on football. Juventus have been hit by COVID. All also have to contend with the lack of interest in Serie A, which means a lack of lucrative TV rights and low gates when fans can return. These clubs are in trouble, especially Inter Milan because they spend big two summers ago.

    Chelsea and City - These clubs are not in debt simply because they have billionaire owners. Football fans have long prayed Abramovich would leave Chelsea, but always ignore that he has expressly said he will never leave the club in debt. He will pay off whatever debt the club has if he ever leaves. Also, the current debt is from transfers, I believe, which he writes off at the end of every season. Manchester City is in a similar situation with it's Middle Eastern owners, who have invested heavily into the club and Manchester to be fair. I don't know about their specific debt but I do know it will be written off by the owners.

    Manchester United - United is unique in the football world because it's debt is not real. In fact, it is real but it is being held on purpose. United has been in debt since the Glazier family bought the club. Instead of paying the debt, the family takes out dividends. Manchester United is a money-making machine and could have paid that debt 5 times over during the Glazier's tenure. The owners choose not to do it to line their pockets. They pay the minimm debt repayment each year, admittedly spend on the team, and pocket the rest. United is perhaps the most self-sufficient sporting brand in the world if it was allowed to be.

    Liverpool and Arsenal - Both these follow a similar path to United and the debt is kept on purpose so the owners can line their pockets.

    Real Madrid has said the motive behind it joining the league was revenue and clearing debt, I would think Barca and the Italian clubs the same. But on the whole, this was not about debt but about ensuring that the money would be locked forever. They weren't going to pay the debt and then end the league. The American owners of the UK clubs wanted to create an NFL/NBA type league which guaranteed they would always get the top revenue. Chelsea and Man City it seems joined simply because they didn't want to be shut out of competing against the top clubs and the reason they pulled out so quickly is because they don't really care about the money involved.

  • Splinter - It's not even homework, I love football so it's just from following the sport. Not a single Google in what I wrote.

    I don't really follow football, except the World Cup, but even I could see that this was going to fail. However, I had no idea that so many clubs were in so much debt.

    I also mentioned this to Adri who is an accountant and she wondered how they could survive.

  • Just like any industry, debt is common and not neccesarily bad. United's debt for example is not bad debt because it is being kept that way, it's artificial. If the Glazer's were to sell United, it would be for around $3bn, returning their initial investment three fold and paying off the debt they incurred when they bought the club. They know this, which is why instead of paying the debt, they take cash out of the club from the revenue it makes. So, they make tens of millions each year while only paying the minimum on the debt AND they get to sell at some point and make a lot of money. They are literally fleecing the club, but United is in no danger of going under.

    That's the case with Liverpool and Arsenal too, although not quite to the same brazen level of the Glazer's at United. City and Chelsea are different because their owners write off debt. None of the British six involved with the ESL are in trouble apart from Spurs. For the UK end of the proposal, it was all about cutting competiton.

    The Spanish clubs are different because their debt is different. I see no way how Barcelona does not go under other than being bailed out or accepting the fact they will become a mid-table club for several years (pay less wagers, pay less transfers, etc.), and Real Madrid is on that road too. Those two wanted the ESL to clear their debt, so who knows what happens with them now.

  • Use the reader-view trick to read the article provided by Splinter.

    It's like I said, they have been fleecing the club for 15 years. One of the problems for United is that selling is a tough task. It is worth $4bn so there are only two types of owners:

    Other investers similar to the Glazer family who will operate the club in a similar way (take money from it).

    Owners with enough money that a $4bn sporting brand is simply a play thing. A western billionaire like Jeff Bezos would be the ideal candidate probably, while an oil state like Saudi Arabia would be less desirable. Problem is, it's the Saudi's that are beleived to have real interest in buying United. That would give the club all kinds of free cash for transfers, but the feeling amongst the fans is they don't want to become a "plastic" club or one that is funded by a state with a terrible human rights history. It is the reason Man City are dismissed and United want to avoid that.

  • Apart from the local die-hards nobody gives a shit.

    That's not true at all. Somebody who is not much into football doesn't give a shit, as you'd expect. Plenty of people give a shit about the Super League and plenty also do about the protests at Manchester United, and it does not take long to find that out. I am not a die-hard local and I give a shit. I think what you meant to say was you don't give a shit.

  • That's not true at all. Somebody who is not much into football doesn't give a shit, as you'd expect. Plenty of people give a shit about the Super League and plenty also do about the protests at Manchester United, and it does not take long to find that out. I am not a die-hard local and I give a shit. I think what you meant to say was you don't give a shit.

    Okay....only a minority gives a shit. I suspect most top clubs could survive very well without the die-hards financial contributions.