European football is a deeply competitive place, with clubs often doing all they can to forge ahead themselves at the cost of others. However, some decisions are made to the detriment of the whole, and that has never been clearer than the move for a European Super League. Following the format of the EuroLeague basketball program, this would have seen certain ‘founding member’ clubs play in a top-level, league-based European league every season regardless of domestic performance. 12 teams agreed to join up, including six from England, with the hope for three more ‘founders’ and five invitational spots per season. The idea, though, lasted less than a week.
One of the most egregious decisions, though, came from North London. Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur both jumped at the chance to join a Super League, with condemnation far and wide at the complete lack of fairness. Both clubs have been, for the most part, underperforming and unable to win any consistent silverware or make progress in Europe or in the leagues. Despite having both appeared in European finals in the last five years, both clubs were seen as examples of the excessive expenditure that is rife within the European game. Both clubs have now since reneged on the move, though, to a chorus of positivity from former players, coaches, and fans.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was asked on his views regarding the Super League, and gave his views on the latest move to carve up the European game.
What did Arsene Wenger say?
Speaking to beIN Sports, Wenger said: "Look, if you want to create a Super League with two groups of 10 teams and you come out and you have only 12, and you know you can lose some of them, your project is not solid."
Wenger also explained how he would have reacted to the Super League had he still been in charge of Arsenal, adding: "I would never have supported any project that was not based on sporting merit.
"I believe that the official organisations like UEFA and FIFA have to protect the essence of the game and reward quality through competitive aspects. I would never have supported a league that's not based on sporting merit."
He was also asked regarding what his own view would have been had he still been in charge of Arsenal. Talk was rife that managers such as Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp might resign in protest. When quizzed on the idea of doing so himself, the Frenchman said: “I would say when you're in this situation you cannot walk away from the club, you have a responsibility to at least go until the end of the season. I would never have believed a project like that had any chance to be successful anyway."
For now, though, this is arguably the most prominent voice in modern Arsenal history making clear his contempt for the idea. It might work in some sports, but a closed shop environment within European football is unconscionable.