BSSF Blog: Americanization of Soccer


The Super League lasted less than 72 hours before widespread backlash from fans and pundits alike forced teams to back out of it (Courtesy of Twitter)

In the past few weeks, several European soccer teams have pulled out of the Super League. The league was a controversial soccer competition with 12 of soccer’s most prominent teams. Some of the teams included Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal from the English Premier League, among others. This competition, which aimed to reshape the soccer landscape, has since been canceled due to fan backlash.

Many fans were upset with the prospective Super League because many of the teams have wealthy American owners. They feared that the Super League will be an “Americanization” of soccer. Four of the 12 founding teams are American-owned. Another main issue is that the 12 founding teams of the league qualify for the competition every season. This is unusual for European soccer because teams usually have to compete to enter these competitions, such as the Champions League.

Arsenal America — the official North American supporting group for Arsenal — released a statement on the league addressing its lack of “competitive fairness.” 

“Football exists atop ideals of competitive fairness and respect for your opponents and the game itself. There’s little concrete information on the proposed Super League but what is clear is that it abandons those ideals,” the statement said. “The members of Arsenal America have an up-close and personal insight into the dangers of close-league systems. We have one in this country — one driven by commercial interests and rather than sporting interests.”

Protests were held outside of Chelsea FC’s stadium. Fans made signs in protest of the European Super League stating “Fans Before Finance” and “Fans Not Customers.”

The Super League, in response, has declared that it plans to make a change to the current system.

The statement read that “The European Super League is convinced that the current status quo of European football needs to change,” along with expressing plans to “reshape” the project.

“Despite the announced departure of the English clubs, forced to take such decisions due to the pressure put on them, we are convinced our proposal is fully aligned with European law and regulations as was demonstrated today by a court decision to protect the Super League from third party actions,” the statement continued.

Is the European Super League an Americanization of this popular European sport? It was formed by powerful clubs to receive more concessions from competition organizers. This Super League would have been the closest thing to money-spinning and made-for-television competition in soccer, a sport that traditionally avoids it. And the fans showed why.