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Football’s new frontier or greed on steroids? Outrage abounds after the announcement that 12 of Europe’s most powerful clubs are going through with their decades-old threat to wrest power from the federations and start a North American-style closed league. That would mean no more danger of missing out on a spot in Europe the following season and those pesky minnows that could upset the established order would be all but gone. Is it for real this time?

Where does the Super League leave the rest of professional football? What consequences? The rift draws attention to an unresolved contradiction of European sports: teams try to turn a profit and answer to leagues that negotiate lucrative TV rights but they also answer to federations, which run as public services and whose members are overwhelmingly amateur.

That sudden acceleration of the inequality gap between the elite and the muddling mid-table masses sounds awfully familiar in these times of globalisation and Covid-19. And by the way, most of the happy few in this instance happen to swimming in red ink. Perhaps those debts will not matter if the Super League succeeds.

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

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