The Super League and its impact on Everton

For Everton, the timing of The Super League is about as bad as it gets. For football in general, it is a deeply worrying time, but we have to believe that acceptable solutions and/or a complete rethink are the way forward. It’s a watershed moment

Paul The Esk 19/04/2021 65comments  |  Jump to last

All the past certainties – participation in the world’s wealthiest domestic football competition, tv rights payments, sponsorship deals, all the potential for the future (new stadium, prospect of European football etc) are now subject to considerable doubt following the announcement of the proposed TSL (The Super League).

The certainties upon which business and investment cases were built, the plans that Brands and Ancelotti will have formed are with one announcement laid bare. Decisions made by others will seriously impact Everton and many other clubs. However slow we have been in the past to take advantages of the opportunities put before us, well, we now enter a different paradigm, one that has many questions attached to it.

The impact of the proposed TSL is huge. The removal of qualification to a meaningful Champions League or Europa League renders the Premier League impotent. The appeal and value to sponsors and broadcasters diminishes with the stroke of a pen. At the same time, the proposed riches offered to the six participants of the TSL creates even greater resource imbalance. Their already considerable financial advantages increase exponentially – up to four times what the current Champions League offers four participants each year plus enhanced commercial contracts. Without the introduction of new financial regulations and cost limits everyone else will literally play for the 7th place trophy.

The Super League proposal

Essentially, twelve clubs have signed letters of intent to form a breakaway league, pan European, played midweek, independent of UEFA. The twelve clubs are Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool plus Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. These twelve clubs plus three others would have permanent membership of the League and a further five clubs would be invited to join each season. As of yet, what the qualification criteria is, is unknown. The new League would feature two groups of ten clubs playing nine home and nine away games. The top three of each group automatically qualify for the quarter finals. The fourth and fifth clubs would play a two legged knockout to determine the last two places in the quarter final. Then two legged knockout quarter and semi finals followed by a single legged final at a neutral venue.

The League also intends to create a women’s league with the same format.

The funding of the league is substantial. The fifteen founder clubs would share an initial sum of US$ 3,500 million – approximately US$ 233 million (£166 million approximately). Expected annual revenues would amount to US$ 400 million (£285 million) a year – a 300 to 400% increase on expected earnings from the current Champions League.

To fund the league initially, financing would be provided by the US investment bank JP Morgan Chase to the tune of US$ 5,000 million – debt that would be repaid from the broadcasting rights.

So what can be done about it?

Firstly, fan action – the shareholders, the owners must be made aware of the thoughts of fans to this outrageous scheme. Coordinated social media activities followed by season ticket boycotts when fans are allowed back into grounds.

Can the Premier League throw out the six clubs? Would they wish to do so in the knowledge of how damaging that will be to future revenues. Given the parlous state of finances for many Premier League clubs, especially in a post pandemic environment, could clubs afford to take that risk? Broadcasters would demand extensive revisions to existing contracts given the material change to the Premier League with the absence of the big six. Plus the next broadcasting round 2022-25 has yet to be determined. Broadcast rights payments would fall substantially in the absence of the big six and without the competitive element of European qualification the Premier league becomes a much less attractive proposition. Equally sponsors at league and club level would want to revise existing contracts

From a legal perspective, can the Premier League deny the six clubs the right to set up another competition? There’s sufficient legal precedent (FIA Formula One Championship [2001] OJ C169/5, Hendry v World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association [2001] All ER (D) 71, and perhaps the most famous of all relating to Kerry Packer’s Cricket Circus, Greig v Insole [1978] 1 WLR 302 which suggests they would have extreme difficulty in doing so. If they could then the six clubs would resign from the league. Again is that a position the Premier League really wants to find itself in?

So what else can be done? Fortunately, rule changes within the Premier League require fourteen clubs to agree to change. One thing for sure is that the six have now forever created a unified block of fourteen.

For me the only way to countenance the retention in the Premier League of the six participants in the Super League, is to apply extremely strict financial regulation with financial penalties (not sporting penalties as that seem to have no bearing on these clubs) for non-adherence.

Thus (i) introduce Premier League Financial Fair Play which imposes restrictions on spending – a comprehensive wage and operating expense cap. Further to that (ii) set a zero limit to operating losses, i.e. clubs can only (within the cap) spend what they earn from “approved revenues”. Approved revenues would remove the Super League revenues (broadcasting, matchday and sponsorship) from the calculation. Thus the six clubs can not receive a financial advantage over the rest of the Premier League by virtue of Super League revenues.

Whilst that helps maintain a semblance of sporting integrity it does mean that the six clubs become extremely profitable. Perhaps that is the absolute intent of their owners. Become an incredible cash cow as a result of not being able to spend their new found riches on player wages and other operating costs.

Alternatively, introduce a wealth tax on the income derived from the Super League, a punitive tax of pick a figure 50%, 60%? Tax the clubs and redistribute the revenues to the other members of the Premier League to compensate for their reduction in earnings and value as a result of the actions of the six.

An alternative football – going back to our roots?

The really bold move is for the Premier League to admit it has lost the arms race, the race for more money, higher transfers, big sponsorship deals, corporate entertainment at games, ridiculous ticket prices and astronomical player salaries. Create a new league with cost controls (much lower than current costs) – a league that created value by being sustainable and thereby benefiting the football pyramid below it? Isolate the greedy by refusing to bow to their greed.

Unfortunately a return to a simpler game more closely attached to its past rather than the last 30 years of the Premier League would create huge losses for current owners and would shelve current and future investment plans. Would that bother the “ordinary” fan? Would football be any worse for a massive but short deflationary period where all the excesses of the last couple of decades are removed?

Is this the Premier League’s opportunity to do something of this nature? To reintegrate with the Football League, to reduce the enormous gap between itself and the Championship which forces the Championship clubs to commit financial suicide each year in an attempt to reach the promised land.

Impact on Everton

For Everton, the timing is about as bad as it gets. Despite the generosity of Farhad Moshiri and the presence of Ancelotti we’ve not yet made the footballing break through our spending and cost base demands. The plan was definitely to include European revenues to match against our costs. Similarly the investment in Bramley-Moore whilst creating shareholder value is/was clearly the platform to generate much higher revenues, have a higher profile, more commercial income and attract better players especially with the prospect of European football in a brand new stadium.

Has that been taken away from us? The honest answer is no-one knows yet. Will the uncertainty make it more difficult to raise finance, will it make the finance more expensive? The answer to both questions is definitely a yes. The bigger question is whether the new face of football, the new economy of football for Premier League clubs warrants the investment in the stadium. That is a hugely tricky call and I am certain it will occupy the thoughts of Farhad Moshiri and the Everton board plus commercial partners for some time to come.

The greed of others is going to change football, of that there is no doubt. How great that change is, is down to the negotiating skills of the Premier League board, individual club owners and the response from each club in adapting to the new circumstances.

It is a deeply worrying time, but we have to believe that acceptable solutions and/or a complete rethink is the way forward. It’s a watershed moment – good luck to all who have to navigate through it ensuring that for the most important stakeholders in football, the fans, there’s a viable sport to continue supporting.

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Reader Comments (65)

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Gavin Johnson
1 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:07:54
The 6 are making their position in the premier league untenable! I prefer to be competitive and challenging for the title and Champions league in devalued competitions (with lower TV money) than be minions in an uncompetitive league where the other 14 clubs will be financial minnows
Brian Ronson
2 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:19:02
Dont understand the legality or the finances of this. I know if the six are allowed to stay in the Premier League after forming their closed shop then I will not be interested any more. If Liverool leave and then want to come back later they should be told to join the Zingari League and work their way back!
Lyndon Lloyd
3 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:20:15
The strict financial limits Paul described could be imposed but they wouldn't really remove the fact that the very competitive nature of the Premier League will have been critically compromised. (And this applies to an extent even if the compromise that could come out of this comes to fruition as well.)

If the top clubs have guaranteed entry to TSL, the only thing they have to compete for in the Premier League is the title. If that's decided or seen to be even a two-horse race well before the season is over, teams from TSL with no chance will simply field weaker squads and concentrate on TSL. And even if you put regulations in place to address that, they're still not going to be arsed.

It feels as though the Premier League as we know it is finished if this abomination goes ahead which, it seems to me, leaves the remaining 14 with little option than to force their hand, call their bluff and kick them out.

Benjamin Dyke
5 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:22:41
Honestly the 6 clubs can all piss off and be stuck in their own nothing league while everyone else gets on as normal. This crock of shite ESL will fall flat on its face and the six will come crawling back begging to be let back in the true league. And start by punishing them now by excluding all their results from the PL.
Gavin Johnson
6 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:23:07
Celtic and Rangers have to be invited to join a revised premier league in that instance, Lyndon.
Lyndon Lloyd
7 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:42:15
Not sure why, Gavin. I understand it from their perspective given how uncompetitive the SPL is but it would smack of those Scottish clubs doing what the Judas 6 are – upping sticks for a more lucrative league and leaving their peers behind.
Gavin Johnson
8 Posted 19/04/2021 at 17:51:19
I guess Lyndon. I'm looking at it from selfish reasons because the 2 Scottish clubs would be bigger than any club in the Championship. I think the question will definitely be asked if the 6 clubs go and it wouldn't surprise me if it happened
Christine Foster
9 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:10:19
Lyndon, I think if expulsion from the EPL as a threat is enacted we may see the veneer of solidarity start to crack as they would not have their cake and eat it, the lesser clubs may start to relook and ask if it's worth while. Once a crack forms it's over.
Paul Smith
10 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:42:43
What’s the price of a new ground turning a blind eye and hoping a Premier league with the shameful 6 still involved but moonlighting on a midweek brings enough revenue in to build it.
Charles Brewer
11 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:44:10
Frankly, I find it inconceivable that any national league could survive a group of clubs having automatic, permanent access to many times the funding of the others. The EPL, La Liga Seria A would simply collapse.

Frankly it would be like putting Manchester City's first team into the US National Womens' Soccer League.

I just hope 'The 14' get together and offer a suitably salutory threat (say "We refuse to play against these teams from now on if they do not immediately and permanently withdraw from this and any similar proposal, now and at any time in the future, furthermore, we demand that all matches played against them this season are considered void".

I know it wouldn't help our league position since we've only been any good against second raters like the RS but it would be worth it.

danny james
12 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:45:59
we have to expel them from the league if they insist on joining TSL. Sure we would take a drop in revenues as the TV deal would be worth less but the TSL TV deal would more than likely mean the next premier league tv deal would be lower anyway as it would be less popular to the world with TSL going on

the gap between us and the 6 deserters would be greater if we let them stay in the league as they would have two tv deal finances each year whereas if they are expelled they just have the income from TSL

All relative nations should expel the teams that are breaking away. WE need to make them pariahs so that they have no connection to any other club in world football. It would then be a exhibition league that is meaningless to anyone other than an american. It will soon lose its popularity then. If we allow those clubs to stay in their national leagues football will really die

Tony Everan
13 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:47:03
Kick them out, change the law in parliament if necessary, ( is that possible? )

The Greedy 6 owners are toxic to the game of football, a cancer that has to be surgically removed. If all the other clubs including us have to take a financial hit, so be it, it will be worth it.

Unless that threat of expulsion is real and backed by the law makers the Greedy 6 will walk all over the governing bodies. It seems only the legislature can now save the game of football as we know it.

Gavin Johnson
14 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:49:19
Lets hope the 14 clubs make a stand and kick them out if they push on ahead and refuse to back down. I believe many supporters of the said clubs would come round to the idea of the Super League if they thought their places in the Premier League are safe.
Jamie Crowley
15 Posted 19/04/2021 at 18:53:37
Sometimes in life you just have to stand up to bullies. It's not pleasant, no one wants it, but it can be forced upon you.

Also, I'm a firm believer in sometimes just doing "what is right" no matter the consequences. Yes, "what is right" is an elastic dynamic and can mean many things to many people.

In today's world in particular, it seems society loves this elasticity. This "moveable goalpost" world where nefarious entities bend and shape rules to fit their rules and their pocketbooks.

I'd argue this situation is one where the EPL just has to do what is right.

Throw them out. Don't look back.

This is a game of poker. The Euro Super League has a stack of a million, and they're sitting on a playable hand, but have shoved all-in. The EPL has 250K in their stack, they're on pocket Jacks and they are afraid to call due to the "value" of what they have being retained, yet playing bitch to the big boys if they cave.

Shove all in. Whatever happens, happens. Shove all in with zero regrets, defend your position, and do it confidently no matter the outcome.

Why?

Because someone has to do the right thing and stand up for a sporting institution that is engrained in the English culture.

Paul Johnson
16 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:08:19
Throw them out. Someone will fill the gap. Keep the champions league and let the knobheads who get thrown out can carry on playing amongst themselves.

The game will flourish as it is competitive. Not meaningless friendlies. Games that mean something where a goal line clearance can be the difference between going up or down.

Kevin Molloy
17 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:15:11
if the fans of the big six organise a boycott of the games this will be killed at birth. But will they. I'd like to think that they will
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:18:52
Kevin, I wondered about that myself. One problem is that the fans could stay away but the clubs would still take in the season ticket money. And the TV money is worth more anyway. They've been used to playing to empty stadiums over the last year.
Jamie Crowley
19 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:22:50
Brent -

If no one watches, or at least not nearly in the numbers the advertisers project, that would do the trick, too.

Brent Stephens
20 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:23:41
It might contribute, Jamie.
Jamie Crowley
21 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:28:12
Proportionally a lot... 😉
Kevin Molloy
22 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:37:05
Brent
if this is done properly such that advertisers understand therell be no crowds, the clamour to watch these games wont be much. And yes, the season ticket issue is key. could long term season ticket holders be persuaded not to renew, who know, its high stakes
Howard Sykes
23 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:38:21
Can any of our American contributors let us know just how this sort of franchise league operates in the USA?
Brent Stephens
24 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:38:57
Fair point, Kevin, that advertisers might be walking away.
Jamie Crowley
25 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:41:45
Howard -

Mike can help more. But basically you play every team equal times home and away. There's always some form of revenue sharing. Here we have salary caps - that won't happen there I can't imagine.

At season's end there's playoffs, and we crown a champ.

Next season wash, rinse, repeat. Simple.

No promotion and relegation. Lots of commercials. ;0)

Kevin Molloy
26 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:46:29
is there anything uglier than a moribund cartel on the warpath.
Dale Self
27 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:51:13
nice prose Kevin.
Jamie Crowley
28 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:53:35
Kevin - brilliant. And true.
Howard Sykes
29 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:55:33
I'm thinking more in terms of the fans view and the quality of the football with tanking (Where a team decides they can't win any more and stops trying for the rest a constant problem.
Colin Glassar
30 Posted 19/04/2021 at 19:57:33
And you call yourselves world champions, Jamie.
David Cooper
31 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:03:48
The comparison between the proposed Euro Super League and the Kerry Packer cricket circus in the 70s is false. The impetus for Kerry Packer was that he had been shut out from negotiating to show test cricket on Channel 9. It gained purchase from England, Australian and West Indian cricketers being paid very little for playing test cricket despite large amounts of money being generated by TV and full houses. So Tony Greig working for Packer recruited enough test players to fill out the international teams.
All the recruited players were banned for 3 years from representing their legitimate international teams but still played county or state cricket. Many of those Windies players were never forgiven and disappeared from cricket apart from a few who came to England. Middlesex cricket club benefited from having their best players banned from test cricket but were available to play county cricket and dominated English county cricket during this period.
Jamie Crowley
32 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:10:01
Howard -

We live with that all the time here. There's absolutely ownership groups and ownership individuals who ride a league's gravy train without ever trying to win a title. Why? There's zero threat of being relegated.

When I first started following soccer, ProRel was a completely foreign concept and I thought it was unbelievably harsh.

Years later, I see it as wonderful. It keeps teams from becoming complacent at the expense of their fans.

Here in America, ownership is the key to winning. If they want to win, you have a go. If they aren't bothered and field "competitive" teams who look to the eye to compete, but in reality never have a chance, you can keep your wages low and the league's profits will keep you happy forever.

The fact Spurs are in the ESL is laughable, but they are. Can you see Daniel Levy - who never met a dollar he didn't like - taking advantage of a closed shop league and riding that gravy train as far as he can and for as much as he can? Bet your house I could see him doing that.

Jamie Crowley
33 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:11:26
Colin -

We're the World Champions of everything.

My personal favorite "ugly American" T-shirt:

The United States of America
Undefeated in World Wars

It hideous, but it's funny as hell.

Andy Crooks
34 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:11:58
Kevin @ 26 you have made some good posts on this thread. That's my favourite. If the syndicate I belong decide to invest in another horse I am going to suggest "Moribund Cartel" as the name.
Dale Self
35 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:17:19
I think you can get a feel for how this might work by looking at NFL/NBA trends but this is more than freeing up total demand from local loyalty. The US and perhaps Middle East market added onto those who would defect to support this might be a good enough base to at least stop the bleeding from their perspective. Then just look for some weak hands to pick off with financial incentives for some rotation of teams in the competition.
The part they are not getting here is how labor mobility will operate without clear institutional connections. Those connections are the underpinning of player asset values. I think this is just an intial move to disrupt, thinking they can bang the table for better outcomes for the leveraged all along the way.
David Pearl
36 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:21:47
Well, we have a stadium to pay for.

Apart from that l hope that the players are denied the chance to represent their county. That way the likes of Foden, Kane etc have a choice between playing for a super league team or playing for both the national team along with either Bayern/PSG... or Everton, West Ham or Leicester.

The clubs have to be punished immediately and kicked out of next years European competitions.

Or maybe a huge 20 grand fine and a slap on the wrist, similar to what happens for rasict chanting.

Its coming though. Money talks. And kopites are gobshites.

Derek Moore
37 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:28:12
With all due respect to David Cooper (#31), almost none of what he wrote is correct. Of the West Indies players he cites, only one - Jim Allen - did not go on to represent his country following the conclusion of World Series cricket as an example.

Mr Cooper would have also done well to point out that ultimately Kerry Packer and World Series cricket won. Packer ended up with a lucrative broadcasting deal in the subsequent peace that brought him knows how many tens of millions. The players got paid more money; the boards had to find more adequate and sustainable sources of revenue to pay players more money.
The legacy of Packer was devaluing a game for the benefit of a few TV spivs, and the lucky few players gifted enough to be at the pinnacle of a sport they originally played as children for fun.

Mr Cooper claims comparing the two situations of the ESL with the Packer cricket circus would be a false equivalence. On the contrary, I don't think you would find many better parallels. It's an elementary lesson on how a game can be hijacked, held to ransom and then finally changed beyond recognition on the whims of a powerful minority - or exactly the situation football finds itself at this moment.

David Cooper
38 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:37:11
Derek thanks for your point of view. However I still maintain Packer’s cricket circus was totally different. If the players had not wanted a fair payday for playing international and county cricket, in Australia, for the Baggy Green and state cricket and in the West Indies, the inter-Island competition and the Windies then Packer’s Circus would have died a death.
Check your facts about what happened to some West Indies players.
Peter Mills
39 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:39:05
This situation really is no surprise, it has been developing for some time. It’s quite possible that it’s only the beginning of change, it wouldn’t surprise me if some of these franchise clubs were to uproot to India, USA, Russia, China to create a world league for TV within the next 30-odd years. Let them go.

As always, a crisis presents opportunities. The hundreds of clubs left behind in England will need leadership. Everton have been the pioneers of football for over 140 years, we should come to the fore now, revolutionise the structure of our organisations and leagues, make it fairer, create funding all the way down from the top clubs to junior football. Demonstrate that football clubs are not just about 90 minutes of kicking a ball every 4 or 5 days, but an institution at the heart of their communities. Be involved in health, education and social care. We are so far down this road already we have a head start, we could be at the heart of a social revolution, in stark comparison to the pigs with their snouts in the trough who have shamelessly exposed themselves over the past 24 hours.

Seize the moment, Blues.

Neil Copeland
40 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:39:19
The audience they want is the global armchair TV one and corporate hospitality. I am not sure that proper fans boycotting the games would make much difference.
David Cooper
41 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:41:50
Have Glazer, Kronke, Henry et al. gone to the players and said “here we’ve got an idea to make you billionaires. We are going to create a Euro Super League and you will be part of it. You are under paid and deserve to earn a lot more money”.
Joe McMahon
42 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:45:49
Neil @ 40, that's a very good point.
Tony Abrahams
43 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:51:39
That’s the conundrum Neil. Football has done well to continue during this pandemic, but one of the things that made the EPL so popular, was the passion coming through the television screen from the stadium, and once they slowly lose this, then I think the armchair fan, might then prefer to watch a different league?

That’s why they should be told to go now imo, because if they stay, there’s a good chance they will drain the standard of their respective domestic league’s, whilst making the new league more exciting, by saving their better players for this more prestigious “to begin with” competition, and I personally don’t think they should be given this chance.

Gavin McGarvey
44 Posted 19/04/2021 at 20:56:05
The response is simple. They can't be in the premier league and this new league at the same time. The FA should also make clear that if they do break away there would be no coming back unless they want to start from the bottom like AFC Wimbledon. UEFA should also consider barring their players from playing in the European Championships and the World Cup. Anything short of that is all just wasted breath. This would be the only action that will even give them pause for thought.

As there is money involved in this, I imagine they will come to a compromise, but the compromise will be in their favour, with them playing a handful of Premier League matches to pick up the trophy each season, and putting out second teams to stay in the cups. TBH it won't be that much different from how things are now. The main difference will be that it will all be there in black and white and the rules will be crystal clear. It'll be the end for some clubs, but I doubt they'll be overly concerned.

Neil Copeland
45 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:04:13
Tony, you raise a very good point. I wonder how the pandemic has affected viewing figures and whether or not that serves as a benchmark.

Something else I was pondering; If fans boycotted games without giving up their season ticket it may have an impact but only after a few seasons by which time a lot would probably lose heart. The clubs could then sell those seats through corporate means on a game by game basis. Yes the atmosphere would not be the same but the stadium would start to fill again.

How much of a draw is the passion when viewed on TV for the audience around the world?

Daniel A Johnson
46 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:07:40
Arguably this could kill Bramley Moore Dock before it even gets started.

If we cant say what our future revenue will be to pay it off then its off.

Hats off to Liverpool they killed us in the 80s with Heysel and now they've done it again in 2021.

Tony Abrahams
47 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:10:17
I’d say it’s the players who miss the passion the most Neil, and it’s why the EPL has got the most worldwide viewers, without it not always being the most easy on the eye imo.
Neil Copeland
48 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:18:42
It certainly explains so many freak results and poor home records Tony.

You are right about the quality of football at times too although the effort and speed of the game here is very addictive.

Despite what I am questioning about empty vs full stadiums I know how much I am missing the game. Really struggling to like the current format without fans. I have never been a good armchair supporter though, just want to get back inside GP.

Stephen Colby
49 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:29:15
The law locks up the man or woman
who steals the goose from off the common,
But lets the greater villain loose
who steals the common from the goose.

I hope the SEC investigates those who shorted Man U shares in the past week. Those close to the announcement must have known full well that there was absolutely zero chance that the ESL would be allowed to go ahead. US speculators would have bought seeing a business model they could identify with. Consequently Man U shares rose by +10% on the opening bell this morning.

Mal van Schaick
50 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:29:56
Let’s see the reaction from sky. If they follow the breakaway clubs into their new league, it will be purely a commercial decision.

There will then have to be a decision from the FA and premier league with consultation with the remaining clubs and any new clubs with regard to sky’s commercial interest in the premier league and tv rights, coverage of games and payment to clubs for coverage of their games and final league finishing position payment.

Once the teams leave the premier league, it has to be made clear, that there is no way back.

Derek Moore
51 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:36:08
Thanks for the polite reply David Cooper. I am genuinely mystified as to what West Indies players I ought to be doing my research on however?
Wayne Daniel is about the only player I can think of who played for Middlesex from the World Series cricket era. But "Diamond" was probably the fourth or fifth best fast bowler in a team with three or four truly all time great fast bowlers, and as I noted, was playing for the West Indies in tests as late as 1984. That's some five years after the end of WS cricket by the way.
My favourite bowler by some way from that era was Colin "Bomber" Croft, a West Indian fast man of some talent. But like Daniel, "The Bomber" just was around at the same time as some true greats in Garner, Holding and Andy Roberts, followed by Malcolm Marshall and Walsh. I too could assert that it was World Series cricket that derailed Croftys career, when the truth is - like Wayne Daniel - the West Indies went on to be totally dominant without either of them for most part.
Sort of vindicates the selection decsions really.

If there's anyone I've overlooked, please bring it to my attention. If it is Wayne Daniel however then please accept me agreeing to disagree.

Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:38:23
Yes Neil, I’ve found the football to be better than I thought, but it’s not something I would go out of my way to watch, now that the lockdown is over mate. The hardest games to watch have been Everton’s, because I’m not sure I’ve ever been as nervous in the stadium, (even for cup finals) than I’ve been watching us play inside these soulless stadiums.

I’m genuinely glad Everton have got no part in these current plans though, because have your cake and eat it, has never really been our style!!

Jay Wood
[BRZ]

53 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:40:51
David Cooper, ignore Derek Moore's rather haughty dismissal of your perfectly legitimate point that any comparison between the proposed ESL and Kerry Packer's rogue World Series Cricket is a false one.

Rather, it is Derek's claim that 'you couldn't find many better parallels' is the erroneous one.

You David accurately describe how the media mogul Packer, having been rebuffed by the Australian Cricket Board to acquire the broadcasting rights for international cricket in Oz for his Channel 9 (they preferred it remained with the country's national broadcaster), set about recruiting the world's best players to perform WSC exclusive to his TV channel.

Those players were receptive to Packer's overtures because most were mere chattels to the clubs and national teams they represented. They were poorly rewarded, yet expected to travel the globe at the whim of their administrators. Outside of the cricket season, many had to find alternative work to sustain their families as they received no salary from cricket.

A poorer 'comparison' of today's super rich football club owners, their millionaire player squads and the bumper media contracts they enjoy, to the poorly rewarded cricketers of the 1970s, is harder to find.

The ESL is primarily being driven by club owners, having inflated their wage bill way, WAY beyond their means, now seeking ways for someone else to pick up the tab and rewarding their disasterous financial governance.

It is NOT about the players. The fans. The club itself. This is not innovative or protective, 'for the good of the game'. It is out-and-out avarice for the shareholders and owners.

What resulted from Packer's WSC impacted positively and hugely on cricket. Initiatiatives that to this day the game and all those involved in it continue to benefit immensely from.

From that time, we now have coloured kit rather than all-whites; floodlit day-night cricket (short form and test cricket); the white ball (easier for sighting); the evolution to the hugely popular and lucrative T20 game from longer 40-50-55-60 over games; national central contracts for the best players to ensure their financial stability; freedom of movement for ALL players to play for multiple teams across different continents in the multiple national leagues that are played year-round; great in-game entertainment for the live spectator; vastly improved TV coverage of the game rather than the single camera from one end view. Cricket also has an excellent TV review system.

With this has also come an astonishing evolution to the game of cricket, with unheard of and barely believable shot play, bowling and fielding.

Don't fret it David. You're right and Derek Moore is totally off-beam on this one.

Neil Copeland
54 Posted 19/04/2021 at 21:53:34
Same here Tony, I have not been able to watch some of the games because my nerves won’t take it and I just don’t enjoy it.

I have always thought of us as being a class act when it comes to ethics and moral values. As you say having our cake and eating it simply is not Everton’s style. Wouldn’t have it any other way mate

Christine Foster
55 Posted 19/04/2021 at 23:35:56
Peter Mills, Football is bigger than 6 clubs no matter how well their marketing departments and how big their bank is. You are right, there are big clubs in every country that should see this as an opportunity, Everton included. If its crash and burn time, so be it, something better will come out of the ashes whilst they have nailed their colours to the mast of the greedy few. An American model has been adopted for a sport that already has a superior format, purely on the basis of money.

These greedy owners believed Pinky and the Brain was a format for their empire-building, tomorrow the world.. it ain't gonna happen.

If there is a resultant shake up of the leagues, even the champions league, I would rather watch poorer quality football with ambition, passion and love for the game than a series of pointless games with nothing on them other than money..
David Cooper
57 Posted 19/04/2021 at 23:56:38
Comment removed at the poster's request
David Cooper
58 Posted 20/04/2021 at 01:00:03
Derek, check out what happened to Roy Fredericks, Richard Austin, Albert Padmore and Laurence Rowe after WSC. Diamond was a great bowler and great guy who was passed over because there were so many fast bowlers to pick from. He certainly scared the county cricketers who faced him!
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

59 Posted 20/04/2021 at 02:08:06
Peter @ 39.

'Seize the moment, Blues.'

With you all the way on the points you make, Peter.

Ironically, the much-maligned EiTC that quite a number gripe about positions Everton at the very polar opposite of all the clubs lined up to join the ESL.

Whilst at the start of the pandemic the likes of the 'elite', the 'bours, Spurs and Arsenal, couldn't dump low wage earners quick enough, Everton came out early to guarantee ALL such staff would be retained and paid in full. I believe our high-earning players at the club accepted part of their salary would go towards this.

Throughout the year of the pandemic Everton has behaved in an exemplary manner within in its community. This was highlighted by Cllr. Hansen (an avowed Red) at LCC's planning meeting that gave the seal of approval on BMD. He spoke glowingly of Everton's work in the community.

You list some of those initiatives Peter and how, as a club, we have a head start and make a demonstrably stark contrast to 'the pigs with their snouts in the trough'.

Given the fall out from the events of the last 24 hours, we have a wonderful USP (unique selling point) to attract new supporters and sponsors for who ethics and a social conscience DO count.

I for one don't take such a despondent view as Paul the Esk offers in his latest post because of this.

Derek Moore
60 Posted 20/04/2021 at 05:27:11
Without getting too haughty about it, Jay Wood is absolutely wrong in just about all his assertions on World Series cricket as well. Indeed, to be more wrong it would be difficult to be.

Jay wrote "Those players were receptive to Packer's overtures because most were mere chattels to the clubs and national teams they represented."
This is as absurd revisionism as you'd like to read on any subject. The use of the word chattel is a typical Jay Woodism, a word he may feels he understands but using entirely out of context rather demonstrably proves he doesn't.
Jay makes it sound like the players were serfs or some sort of modern day slave. The truth is although the rewards for playing at the top level are nowhere near as lucrative as they are today, there were guys making a full time living playing cricket in the sixties and seventies. Rather like football. The simple truth is, during the sixties and seventies, the reverence grown men were given for playing a "childs" game such as football, cricket or rugby league was much less than it is today and the players received less money both on the average and at the top level.

And whether Jay likes it or not, withdrawing ones services from a sanctioned competition to participate in a better remunerated but unsanctioned competition is in essence exactly what the Packer cricket players did and exactly what these twelve clubs are proposing to do with the European Super League. You will not get a much better parallel; this is reflected by the amount of commentators and pundits who have made this identical comparison on the European Super League.

I could get further into the gist of Jays post and point out that better bowling, fielding and batting has nowt to do with Kerry Packet, that an excellent replay system owes more to the nature of cricket itself than the Packer revolution, that cricket faces a governance and finance crisis across the sport brought about originating from Packer, that Kolpak players exist and indeed there is a restricted market by many countries on player movement, that cricket in it's core western territories has now disappeared behind a paywall entirely and is threatening participation at the grassroots level

I could go about all of those things but I won't because there's little point. Jay obviously knows as much about World Series cricket history topic as I do about the Brazilian covid situation, and is about as qualified to comment. Sorry Jay, I know you've been dying to snipe away but I really only opine on what I know a lot about - a habit that it wouldn't do you any harm to develop in my view either.


Rob Dolby
61 Posted 20/04/2021 at 08:05:23
Uefa have created this situation by not governing the game properly and by pandering to the big boys.

From a sporting and moral point of view I would be quite happy if the remaining 14 threatened the 6 with expulsion for X amount of years and uefa created new competitions without them in it.

From a financial position the premier league, Sky TV and sponsorship needs those clubs, certainly 2 of them anyhow.

There will be further negotiations and compromise reached where the big 6 get more revenue and carry on in the league creating a larger gap between them and everyone else. Sky will buy into it and feed the fans the greatest game scenario each week.

In a few years time the 6 will be in an even stronger position and either govern the league or leave it completely for the newly formed world league.

The 14 clubs need to get their act together and come up with an alternative solution that provides for all of the pyramid. In reality the 14 have only been making the numbers up for the duration of the premier league with only Leicester upsetting them. This is a time for them to show real leadership.

Oh and personally I don't want anything to do with Celtic or Rangers playing in English football. The fans will treat every away match like a crusade and set the game back years.

Chris Jones (Burton on Trent)
62 Posted 20/04/2021 at 11:45:13
Daniel @ #46. Nail on the head. Sadly.

I think the only thing for the 14 to do is tell the six that they must declare by no later than 31 May that they will have no part in the ESL, else they will not be permitted to play in the 21/22 Premier League Season.

We cannot have a situation where clubs are allowed to have a manifestly unfair advantage of income from the EPL, ESL, and likely the Champions League also. It would be crazy. Threaten to kick them out or you might as well resign yourself to becoming unwitting participants in Championship 2.0, or worse.

I fell sincerely sorry for the genuine, decent majority of the fans of the shitty six. It seems they will be "legacy fans" of these greedy clubs joining what will become nothing more than a soulless exhibition league.

Geoff Williams
63 Posted 20/04/2021 at 14:48:16
Agree Chris the 6 clubs must give an undertaking to stay loyal to the Premier League and abide by FA, EUFA and FIFA rulings otherwise they will be expelled from The Premier League. This would give the Premier League the opportunity to reduce the membership down to 18 clubs without alienating any of the current members.
Ian Burns
64 Posted 20/04/2021 at 15:31:53
My problem with this threat of throwing the six out of the Premier League is two-fold. No matter what romantic notion we all have of reconstituting the league without the six, the economic fact is that we need them. They are the teams that pull in the Sky revenue for example and without them BMD is almost a pointless exercise from a football point of view.

My second concern is the supporters of the six clubs. They have come out in unity with the rest of the football community and we are talking of throwing their clubs out of the league. You can't just switch to support a different team, it is one of those freaks of nature, you are stuck with the first team you saw. So for those two reasons, I am all for doing all we can to retain the six - but of course it has to be said we need to give them time to come to their senses.

David Cooper
65 Posted 20/04/2021 at 20:23:31
Hi Derek, you speak with so much authority about WSC that I can only think you were playing cricket at a level where you came into contact with some of these players. If so would love to hear your pedigree. Or are you cricket historian who has researched the effects of WSC on cricket post Packer? You speak with such authority that you must be in one or both of these groups or like me you lived through this controversial period in cricket history.
And it may now appear that Euro Super League will fold even before it begun which WSC did not. So how can there be a comparison?
Jay Wood
[BRZ]

66 Posted 21/04/2021 at 03:01:41
Having been occupied and entertained on other threads on the main talking point of the day, catching up on other threads and I’ve come across this one.

And I have to say, you are a funny fellah, Derek Moore. A pity it’s not intentional.

To reply on the subject on which you claim such authority on…

@ 37 you made the following claim:

‘Comparing the two situations of the ESL with the Packer cricket circus [is not] a false equivalence. On the contrary, I don't think you would find many better parallels.’

I will (once again) demonstrate why that claim is built on a false premise and how I consider you are mistakenly comparing a blancmange to a praying mantis.

Difference #1. As already pointed out, World Series Cricket was borne out of Kerry Packer being refused viewing rights of international cricket in Australia. A consequence of this was his creation of WSC to view on his Channel 9. One man then, a media mogul, taking on the game’s administrators in Australia.

The ESL is (we can now say WAS) a cartel of 12 long established clubs (with others obviously sounded out) run by mega-rich owners. Nothing like-for-like AT ALL in the very different ‘players’ driving each initiative.

Difference #2. Packer was not interested in the least in getting involved in or changing the structure of state/county or national cricket. The ESL initiative would most certainly have radically impacted on football’s pyramid.

Difference #3. Packer’s motivation was to attract viewers and sponsors to his TV channel. As other TV subscription channels have learnt, a cost-effective way to achieve this was to offer live sport.

The ESL’s motivation was to fabricate an elite league from which its members would vacuum up greater revenues from primarily broadcasting deals (although, as was slowly being discovered, less than a third of the total revenues as the corporate suits intended taking the bulk of the monies).

Difference #4. As the WSC’s brief 2 seasons indicate, Packer never intended it to challenge or permanently replace the existing cricket infrastructure. The ESL’s plans most certainly would have tore asunder the existing infrastructure in European football with the intention of establishing a permanent ‘super league’, a closed shop in which the core member clubs would remain in perpetuity.

Difference #5. Packer recruited 66 of the leading cricketers of the age to form 3 squads: Australia, West Indies and the Rest of the World. The players themselves freely and willingly signed up to WSC.

The ESL clearly did not canvass its managers, its players or least of all its ‘legacy fans’ on the viability of what they proposed. On the contrary, some of the ‘Dirty Dozen’s’ own managers and players expressed deep disquiet at the proposals.

Difference #6. The vast majority of certainly the Australian cricketers Packer recruited were at best semi-professional. Many doubled up with a day job. Pretty much every footballer at the ESL ‘Dirty Dozen’ is already a millionaire in his own right. A poorer 'comparison' of today's super rich football club owners, their millionaire player squads and the bumper media contracts they enjoy, to the poorly rewarded cricketers of the 1970s, is harder to find.

Difference #7. What resulted from Packer's WSC impacted positively and hugely on cricket. Initiatives that to this day the game and all those involved in it continue to benefit immensely from. The ESL threatened to totally sabotage the long-standing and historical fabric of professional football.

I could go on. For someone given to such self-aggrandizement and bigging yourself up as THE authority on your given Mastermind subject, Kerry Packer and the WSC, you appear remarkably ill-informed Derek.

You take issue with my use of the word ‘chattels’ with regard to the players Packer recruited to the WSC (Aussie skipper Greg Chappell used the synonym ‘vessels’ instead), claiming that ‘although the rewards for playing at the top level were nowhere near as lucrative as they are today, there were guys making a full time living playing cricket in the sixties and seventies.’

Says a bloke, blagging it on the internet. If you don’t mind, I’ll put greater stock in the words of the players who signed up to and played in the WSC. Let’s start with Aussie Kerry O’Keefe:

‘The inequity between how much money players were making for cricket boards and how much they received from them was crucial. I don’t want to bang on about ‘We played for nothing’, but it was born out of that. WSC traded on the insecurity of cricketers at the time, given that we’d never signed contracts and lot of us lived (financially) game to game. There was a vulnerability there.’

Aussie paceman Max Walker said the rebellion was due to the cricketing authorities’ refusal to give ground on players’ pay, or have any say on issues such as scheduling at home or abroad.

Walker recalls he had to take unpaid leave from his role as a public-service architect to go on his two tours of England, in 1975 and 1977, but was strictly forbidden from seeking any endorsements to help lessen the impact of forgoing a full-time wage. For being away from home and family for a two-and-a-half-month tour in 1975 he received the equivalent of £1,000.

Aussie skipper Greg Chappell explained the players’ mood at that time. ‘It wasn’t just about money. It was about respect. There was an attitude from the administration that players were vessels that they could do whatever they like with. We didn’t appreciate that and thought we had more to offer. We’d been on a tour of England in ’72 where we crisscrossed the country, back and forth, over a six-month period with no regard to player fitness or wellbeing.

‘The fact that 54 players were approached and only one pulled out indicates that players around the world were unhappy. It was already known by the players - and it came out in the resulting court case [an attempt by cricket's administators to serve WSC cricketers with a blanket ban from the game, in London]- that there was a cartel between the different international boards in which they agreed ‘You don’t play your players any more, we won’t be under any pressure to pay our players any more’.

Those 3 cricketers Derek, who were at the coal face of WSC, rather makes a nonsense of your wafty, unsubstantiated claims, that ‘the players got paid more money [My note: rightly so. Something more commiserate with what their talents and sacrifices merited]; the boards had to find more adequate and sustainable sources of revenue to pay players more money. [My note: the money was always there. The tight wads of the international boards were in cohorts to reward the players who generated the monies as little as possible].

To close, we have this beaut from you: ‘The legacy of Packer was devaluing a game for the benefit of a few TV spivs, and the lucky few players gifted enough to be at the pinnacle of a sport they originally played as children for fun.’

No point in listing again the many benefits that permanently changed cricket for the better as a result of WSC as it will only be met by further vague denial by you.

The fast moving events of today give us another difference that, as David Cooper has already pointed out, further makes a mockery of your ‘comparison’. WSC endured for two years. The ESL didn’t last two days and folded without a ball ever being kicked in anger.

I know from previous chats there are a number of devout cricket followers on TW. For anyone interested, there is a good drama-doc on the subject worth seeking out called Howzat! Kerry Packer's War, produced and aired on his own Channel 9 in Oz.

I repeat, comparing the ESL initiative to Kerry Packer’s WSC of 45 years ago as you and others attempt Derek is a lazy fallacy which doesn't stand up to inspection.

Robert Tressell
67 Posted 22/04/2021 at 04:42:00
The Premier League and Champions League have already taken the edge off competition in football. Celtic, Rangers, Portuguese clubs, Benelux clubs, Scandinavian clubs, Balkan clubs etc cannot compete. And let's face it, we cannot compete. Clubs with the best players win things - and we don't have the financial muscle to buy the best players, nothing like it in fact. So unless we find another way, besides spending, then we will remain the doldrums.

Our exclusion from the Greedy 6 is a worrying development but unsurprising. Where it leaves us is very uncertain. It's another excellent article, Paul, so thanks for pulling it together.

But it's piqued my interest in where this leaves the likes of Man Utd, Liverpool and others without multi-billionaire backing. We worry about our finances and rightly so. But just how dire is their future?

It seems to me that Man City, Chelsea and PSG might be about to start a period of dominance, simply because no other clubs (possibly except Bayern and Leipzig because they are so well run in different ways) will be able to keep up. If that's true then the prestige and associated tv / advertising / merchandise money will be harder to come by for the likes of Man Utd and Liverpool.


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