“It is hard to imagine François Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher reacting so quickly (in 1993) when the current formula of the Champions League was created. “ With a wit, the historian Paul Dietschy underlines the completely new nature of the speeches of President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who both spoke very quickly against the creation project of Private League. For the first, the project would threaten “The principle of solidarity and sporting merit”. For the second, he “Would strike football right in the heart.”
The earthquake of this closed league, where the richest clubs have the assurance of participating and touching the financial manna of televisions, goes beyond the framework of sport. “Everyone feels confusedly that this league would call into question the social, political and medical function of European sport, where the richest clubs help amateur teams who can dream, at least in theory, of reaching the top one day,” which is no longer the case in a closed league ”, explains Paul Dietschy.
“The denial of sporting merit”
Thus, Margaritis Schinas, Greek Vice-President of the European Commission, stood up in defense “A European model of sport based on values, diversity and inclusion”. As for the French sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, she lambasted “A system without sporting criteria for accession” who “Represents the negation of sporting merit”.
Same story from the main French parliamentarians. Michel Savin, Senator LR evokes a “Risk of destabilization in terms of sport, ethics and economics”. The deputy Régis Juanico (Génération.s) deplores the “Extreme high level commodification”.
The triumph of the American model
On the Internet, cohorts of athletes and observers have also expressed their anger, their disgust, even their shame, beyond any partisan commitment. “This competition would be the last nail in the coffin of European football, abandoning everything that made its success and made it popular”, underlines the website of Football supporters Europe, the association of European supporters.
– Ander Herrera (@AnderHerrera) April 19, 2021
“In Europe, we do notis not in American culture where sport is entertainment and spectacle ”, resumes Paul Dietschy, who however warns against an angelic vision of a pure and disinterested European model. “This proposal is in the logical continuation of all the evolutions noted since the end of XIXe century, he tempers. The clubs were created by businessmen who always wanted to restrict the practice to a profitable setting. The French professional championship ad‘elsewhere was created in this spirit in 1932. “