Twelve founding clubs announced their participation in the European Super League (ESL) on April 18, 2021. They were AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF and Tottenham Hotspur.

The European Super League (ESL) was a competition set to be played during the midweek. The 12 founding members would be joined by three other clubs and bring the total to 15. An additional five teams would qualify for the competition based on their respective league performances.

Such was the format of the newly proposed ESL that arrived at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting the whole world and the soccer community.

A Soccer Competition Like Never Before

Soccer is a sport that has over 4 billion fans worldwide. It is considered the most watch game on the planet. The founding members have a fanbase that represents a considerable percentage of those 4 billion soccer lovers. The founders put forward several arguments to back their decision to establish the ESL.

The most awaited fixtures in soccer happen only a few times during the year. In the domestic leagues, such encounters are less likely to occur if there are no big clubs. Therefore, fans have to wait for major events like the Champions League, Europa League, Euros, Nations League or the famous World Cup to see their dreams fulfilled.

The ESL competition aimed to bring these top teams together so the fans could enjoy those big soccer nights regularly. It would create more excitements among supporters and, in turn, more engagements.

The ESL Competition Format

The ESL competition would comprise 20 teams split into two groups of 10. Fifteen founding teams would gain automatic qualification for the ESL each year, while the remaining five teams will be chosen based on their domestic league ranking.

The competition will start in August, and teams from each group will compete against one another in home and away ties. The first three teams from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals knockout stages. The remaining two spots will be decided between the fourth and fifth team in a two-legged playoff match.

The final will be played at a neutral venue in a single encounter to decide on the winner of the ESL competition.

Financial Influence Of The European Super League

From a financial point of view, the ESL would bring in more revenue. Bigger soccer events would mean higher attendance. Besides, more money would come in through broadcasting rights, t-shirt sales, marketing, and sponsorships. The soccer pyramid would benefit from the creation of the ESL.

But what will happen to the existing European competitions?

The founding members also brought forward that they would love to work together with the UEFA and FIFA to deliver a better outcome for the newly proposed league. But they could not see what was coming.

The UEFA Intervention

The UEFA voiced out against the creation of the ESL. The UEFA mentioned that soccer is and should always be an open competition based solely on merit. Besides, they also said that they would take all necessary actions against the teams in the ESL.

The UEFA was backed in their quest to stop the ESL by FIFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A.

The UEFA also mentioned that the clubs involved in the ESL would be banned from all European competitions, their domestic leagues, and International competitions. Besides, players involved could be prohibited from representing their national teams.

Soccer Fans Reaction

Soccer lovers from around the world responded negatively to the proposition of the ESL competition. The fans heavily criticized club owners involved in the ESL. The soccer supporters believed that the whole point behind the competition was to make more profits.

Many of them argued that the beauty of the game would no longer exist if the ESL is allowed to happen. They added that the excitement of having the big teams play against each other would no longer exist.

Protests were held outside soccer stadiums and on social media platforms calling for the ESL to be stopped. Besides, many fans also participated in online polls and petitions to make their voice heard.

What Happened To The ESL Competition?

Following the protests of millions of soccer fans worldwide and the UEFA intervention, the owners were given a deadline to walk from the proposed ESL competition.

The different club owners eventually decided to withdraw from the proposed ESL competition, fearing for the worst. With no team left, the ESL remained a dream that never came true. Most of the owners came forward to apologize in front of their fans.

End Of Line

Many soccer coaches and players were against the ESL competition. Due to the involvement of their clubs in the competition, most of them were unable to voice out. Yet, few came in front of the cameras to express their frustration on the tournament.

Soccer without fans is nothing, and the fans made themselves heard. The beauty of soccer lies in its simplicity and merit, and this should always remain as such.


  • Date accessed: May 6, 2021. The European Super League:
  • Date accessed: May 6, 2021. UEFA Official Website:
  • Date accessed: May 6, 2021. Sports Show. Top 10 most popular sports in the world: