So, We Might Not Have Seen the Last of the Super League

European soccer could get even more complicated

Messi celebrates
Lionel Messi celebrates scoring the third Paris Saint-Germain goal with a Panenka penalty during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig.
Visionhaus/Getty Images

In April of this year, the shape of European soccer changed dramatically, albeit briefly. The proposed Super League, with 12 teams from England, Spain and Italy, threatened to shake up the existing power structure within UEFA and would have nominally made some of the continent’s wealthiest clubs even wealthier. It didn’t last long — soon enough, the six Premier League teams that had come on board bade the competition farewell, and the rest of it imploded not long afterwards.

Except it turns out that, like the monster in a horror movie, the Super League might not be gone as previously believed. A new article at The Athletic, credited to Jack Pitt-Brooke and a number of other writers, looks at the current state of the Super League and offers some informed speculation as to what might be next for it. And if you thought Super League 1.0 might disrupt the order of European soccer, well, things might get much wilder than that.

The article cites an anonymous survey The Athletic sent to teams across Europe. As Pitt-Brooke and company note, one of the questions was, “When do you think the Super League will return?” 54% of respondents argued that it had never gone away. There is, after all, still a legal case being brought by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus in the European Court of Justice, with a ruling scheduled for next year.

The Athletic goes on to cite rumors of one proposed Super League configuration that would involve 140 teams total, each of them in a 20-team division with promotion and relegation in effect. This might involve a broader array of leagues — and certainly, there are people who would savor the opportunity to watch, say, a Celtic-Juventus match on a Tuesday.

The possibility of having two different continental cup competitions to determine the best men’s team in Europe is head-spinning — especially if each one only features half of the continent’s best teams. Given that the format of the Champions League is itself in flux, it does seem all too likely that we’ll be hearing more about the Super League before too long. Will its next iteration last longer than a day — and how will it affect global soccer if it does?

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