The Super League Again. Dear God. Celtic Will NEVER Join Such A Competition.

Image for The Super League Again. Dear God. Celtic Will NEVER Join Such A Competition.

The Super League rises again, like a horror movie monster that will just not stay dead. Its organisers are claiming victory after a court ruling declaring certain of UEFA’s rules to be discriminatory and illegal.

UEFA are saying that it refers to a set of opaque regulations which they tidied up in 2022 in anticipation of just such a scenario.

The spin being put on this ruling, by over-excited people across football, is mind-bending.

Because some of it reeks of undue panic and some of it stinks of greed.

Celtic has never commented either way, but as has been made plain plenty of times, our club continues to rise in the ranks of both UEFA and the ECA. Our commitment to them is a fact.

National associations remain committed to UEFA and the ECA. The EPL has re-written its own rules stating that its member clubs cannot join another competition without their permission. Where UEFA regulations might fall down, national associations have already pledged their commitment to the European governing body’s structure.

The over-excited heads of Real Madrid and Barcelona might decide to charge ahead regardless. But they will have few takers. Anyone can do the basic math on this easily enough; the Super League proposal is for a competition involving an initial 64 teams.

That’s less teams than currently play in the Champions League and Europa League Groups, which is to say nothing for the qualifying games which are played before those Groups take place.

Whatever way they try to dress this up, this is a tournament for a select handful of clubs. This is not a meritocratic structure. It’s a power grab, and of course it’s also a cash grab.

The idea their chairman put forward today about how its games will be shown free to fans is laughably absurd and so obviously untrue that it barely needs pointing out, and yet the Scottish media in particular is already drooling over that and much else, none of which is remotely feasible.

The Aberdeen chairman has expressed a fear that Celtic and the team across the city will run off and sign up to this; why doesn’t he just pick up the phone and ask what our position is? Celtic is watching with interest, but that doesn’t mean we’re interested. The SPFL itself should have a statement out on this before the end of the day, committing its clubs to the current structure as I have no doubt the English Premier League is already preparing to do.

La Liga’s chairman has already had his say; he accused the Super League spokesperson of sounding as if he’d been drinking all day. Quite the put down.

The Bundesliga was one of the first leagues to formally rule out membership for any of its clubs and within hours of the initial proposal Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others had officially spoken to express their complete lack of interest.

Most importantly – although this apparently doesn’t matter – fans across the continent are aghast at this proposal. It seems that football supporters can see clearly what the gaping holes in this are and do not want any part of it. And we’re constantly treated as if we’re stupid too.

We’re certainly too smart not to see through this.

The central concept behind this doesn’t stack up, because its about greed and cannot see the world through the eyes of ordinary supporters; fans of even the big clubs do not want to play the same handful of teams over and over and over again. We like surprises. We like to go to new places and see new things. We value that variety.

I remember a couple of years back, Celtic fans sighing with regret over us drawing Barcelona. “Them. Again,” was the general attitude. That’s what the Super League experience “promises.” Playing the same handful of teams over and over again, and especially if you’re stuck on one of the lower rungs of the ladder, which is where this board would keep us.

National leagues will never allow it. UEFA might not be able to prevent the competition being established, but they can expel any clubs from their competitions which attempt to join it, and if those clubs want to test the “legal theory” behind that later they’d be entitled to do so.

I suspect the clubs would lose since UEFA is essentially a private organisation and can, in fact, pick and choose the criteria which allows for participation in its events … that could lead to anarchy, of course and there might be some people who feel as if they would profit from that.

But by and large, most clubs don’t want anarchy and would not like it, and so UEFA will simply get on with things pretty much as it does now, and national associations will too.

For a while at least this will keep the lawyers busy, and it will generate some heat in the news, much of it over-the-top and ill-informed to a spectacular degree … but actual changes? Even if they were to result from this, they are years and many legal battles down the line.

There is very little prospect of this ruling smashing national structures to pieces as some hope for; in whose interests would such a thing happen? Certainly not those of the clubs, and anyone who believes that this offers us a path to England, I have a bridge to sell you.

Years of battles in the courts lie ahead before the most fundamental questions about this are fully answered, so nobody in Scottish football should be getting over-excited, not that they should anyway because UEFA’s competition reforms kick in next season and I think we’re all keen to see how they will play out, and it’s obvious that they would be a form of “European Super League” anyway.

UEFA is obviously moving another step closer to endorsing their own version based on the current qualification system. Six team groups would have given us a tournament much the size of the one next year, and the number of Group Stage games will continue to edge up, so 14 European Group Stage games, which is in line with the Super League proposals, already seems on the cards, and within the current setup and without major disruption.

This idea is dead. It’s been dead since its initial twelve members started running for the hills when the scale of the backlash became evident last time.

As long as UEFA keeps reforming and giving clubs more games to play and money to spend, the lustre of such an idea will diminish. If UEFA keeps on expanding the size and scope of its tournaments they’ll always have more to offer, especially to the clubs at the bottom of the scale, than some closed shop ever could.

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