The European Super League may have only lasted as long as a vrot poep, but football still has a long way to go to save itself from corruption and greed.
Make no mistake, this week saw one of the most important chapters in the game.
We had half a dozen of the most popular and richest clubs in the world attempting to make a hostile takeover of the sport because of money – in this case, it was about £6bn worth.
And as a fan of one of them – Arsenal – I am disgusted by their actions. But obviously, “money makes the world go round” and this is the crux of the matter.
All these clubs went after the money because, with the most eyes on them, they wanted a bigger slice of pie. They already have deals in a place that make them richer than the likes Leicester, who are the only club outside of the Premier League’s big six who have won the league title in the era of huge TV deals.
If they had gotten their way, though, where will the next sporting legend like Leicester come from?
Let me be real for a second. I get that casual fans want to watch the best teams play. I get that in a free market, the higher the demand to see any one team can justify the executives of those teams to demand a bigger cut.
I get that those who administer the sport – like Fifa and Uefa, Caf, Safa, the PSL – all of them are out to make money for themselves. But what ties all of this together is competition and community. Let’s talk about competition quickly.
What really struck me initially about the Super League was that it protected the income of the elite, with them never having to worry about failure in competition. That goes against the very nature of the sport.
The football pyramid provides clubs in the system to reach the top through merit and also those at the top shouldn’t be guaranteed to stay there through financial means alone.
And the only way to ensure it, is for there to be an equitable way to distribute the riches of the game. Ironically, the more money to go around, the more resources each club will have to improve and the competition will get stronger.
Which brings us to the community. The most shameful part of this, is that the owners have forgotten what the clubs mean to the fans. And I’m not talking about us here in South Africa or Malaysia and China. I’m talking about the ones on the ground.
These clubs used to be part of the community, where local laaities could dream of moving from the stands to the pitch. Increasingly, the game alienates those who love it and those it should benefit.
As beacons in the community, clubs should do more to uplift their most immediate and vulnerable neighbours. We saw this week that clubs can’t bite the hand that feeds them.
And now it’s time for the fans, the real ones, to be give a more important voice in their clubs and in the game at large.