Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was not far off with his prediction about a European Super League when he spoke almost 12 years ago.
The Frenchman was quoted by a 2009 article in the Guardian as saying he thought there could be a breakaway league of Europe’s elite clubs in about 10 years’ time.
“I see more a European league developing over time rather than one team going out of the country,” Wenger said. “The national leagues will survive but maybe in 10 years, you will have a European league.
“I’m not sure 100% that I’m right but I feel inside our game there are some voices behind the scenes coming up to do something about that, especially if the rules become too restrictive for these clubs.”
In the end, Wenger was only two years out, following the announcement of the new Super League yesterday, with Wenger’s old club Arsenal among the founding members of the new competition.
The Gunners will be joined by big names like Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona for the time being, and one imagines there will be other elite clubs joining in the near future.
Wenger raised concerns about the idea, and many fans will share his feelings about it, with the news generally seeming to go down very badly with supporters of both the big six clubs and pretty much every other team.
“Personally, I believe only in sporting merit,” Wenger said. “So, if such a league is created, it has to be by transfers up and down, although that is practically very difficult to resolve and we do not want to kill the national leagues. Teams would have to play in both the European league in midweek and the national league at the weekend. It means all these teams have two teams.
“The way we are going financially is that even the money that will be coming in from the Champions League will not be enough for some clubs because they spend too much money. The income is basically owned by Uefa and they distribute the money to the clubs.”