Super League protests

The spectacular rise and fall of the European Super League

The only thing more shocking than the creation of the league was the depth of the outcry.

Just as you think the football world can’t get any crazier, the football gods walk up to you and smack you right upside the head! This month saw some of the craziest things I will probably ever see in my football-viewing life.

Even if you’re not into sports (perhaps living under a rock the past few weeks…hiding from COVID), you must have heard those two words spoken: “Super League.” What happened was the English Big Six — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, ManCity, Manchester United and Tottenham — all agreed to join a breakaway football league that would compete with the leagues that they are currently part of.

The above mentioned were part of a 12-team consortium that came out with the statement of intent to break free of their respective leagues and create the Super League. This flipped the football world upside down, spun it in circles, smashed it into a garbage can and then launched it into space!

The Super League’s stance was that 40% of young people were no longer interested in football and that some clubs were losing €400-million, (closer to $600-million CDN) because of the pandemic, and that this was a move to make everybody more financially stable.

Fans, governments and football governing bodies reacted as though this move would destroy every domestic league in existence and the football way of life as we know it today.

The Super League also argued that young people were no longer watching games in full, suggesting that they might adopt shorter games for the viewers. They also noted that they would improve refereeing and video review systems for the league’s new tournaments. (Roughly 99.9% of fans dislike VAR, so this should have been an easy sell!)

No matter the argument, nor what was presented to the public, within 48 hours, protests were seen on every level, all over Europe. By the time the yelling and rioting in the streets was done, the Big Six English clubs, starting with Chelsea FC, followed by Man City, removed themselves with a formal submission to back out of the newly presented league.

In the brief attempt at a coup d’état, people actually sided with UEFA and FIFA while they were on their soapboxes preaching to save football from GREED! The UEFA and FIFA positioning themselves as the good guys was something I thought I would never see.

The Super League was dead within 48 hours of being announced to the world.

I’m certain there will be more fall-out, firings, quitting(s) and repercussions for months, and maybe years to come from all of this bumfuzzle.


Add to the madness of that Monday/Tuesday, Spurs fired one of the biggest names in the echelons of football coaching: José Mourinho. Just as fast as he was fired and got paid out LARGE, he joined the TALK Sports broadcast team in the U.K. as a commentator for the 2020 Euros, which kicks off on June 11. 

Montreal is already doing very well, with only three games played in the very early start of the new MLS season.

We have reached the best part of the Champions League, where four teams battle to make it to the big stage of game finals in a one-off match for European football supremacy on May 29. Winner gets a smooth 20 million Euros for that match alone!

To wrap it all up, at the start of the month Arsenal legend, France striker and ex-CFM coach Thierry Henry removed himself from social media because of racism and bullying across platforms. He posted a message to his two million followers on Twitter saying the issue was “too toxic to ignore.” Henry said he would not return to social media until “companies regulate their platforms with the same vigour and ferocity that they currently do when you infringe copyright.”

At the end of April, football clubs and professional footballers all over England took part in a movement to boycott social media, to force companies to tackle abuse and discrimination towards the pros on their platforms. From Friday, April 30 through Monday, May 3, in a show of community unity, supporters of the cause got off of their social accounts. This is all being done in anger over the ball not moving forward fast enough on these subjects.

Stay safe, stay smooth, watch some football! ■

“This greedy and callous move would spell disaster for our grassroots, for women’s football and the wider football community only to serve self-interested owners, who stopped caring about their fans long ago, and complete disregard for sporting merit. Tragic.”

Former Portugal forward Luis Figo

This column originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Cult MTL. Check out The 1st Half podcast (about soccer and football culture in Montreal and beyond) here.

For more Montreal soccer and other sports coverage, visit our Sports section.