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The 2021 European Super League Attempt: motivation, outcome, and the future of football

Brannagan, Paul ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4003-8420, Scelles, Nicolas ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6177-5307, Valenti, Maurizio ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8029-9863, Inoue, Yuhei ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1983-6217, Grix, Jonathan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7315-1641 and Perkin, Seth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3959-1904 (2022) The 2021 European Super League Attempt: motivation, outcome, and the future of football. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 14 (1). pp. 169-176. ISSN 1940-6940

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Abstract

On 18 April 2021, it was announced that 12 of Europe’s leading professional football clubs had formally agreed to form, and partake in, a new ‘super’ league. Officially known as ‘The Super League’, but more commonly referred to as the ‘European Super League’, the competition sought to strongly rival – if not replace – the existing Champions League, the longstanding elite European tournament organised by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). By 21 April 2021, however, nine of the clubs formally confirmed their withdrawal from the ESL, leaving only three clubs committed to the project. In this brief critical commentary, we analyse the European Super League attempt from an economic, social and political perspective. In doing so, we answer three key questions: What were the underlying motivations behind the attempt? Why did the attempt fail to materialise? What next for the future governance of football?

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