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Tuesday 20 April 2021

Murdoch Super League Hypocrisy

Our free and fearless press has devoted a significant amount of space today to passing adverse comment on the idea of a nascent European Super League, which would consist of at least 12 football clubs, six of which would be from England. Much of the criticism accuses the owners of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur of greed. The Murdoch Sun has been especially righteous.

THE GREAT GAME ROBBERY … Football fans protest at Big Six greed as Government vows to punish clubsscreams the headline, under the by-line of, primarily, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole, who claims to be the Sun’s political editor - not one of its football writers. Because this is mainly about politics. And lots of money.

But do go on. “ANGER mounted last night at plans for a European Super League — with the Government threatening to punish clubs that break away. Owners of the Premier League’s Big Six joiners were dubbed ‘snakes’ by Uefa, while stars may be banned from the Euros and World Cup”. A graphic proclaims “BALLS TO THE SUPER LEAGUE”.

There is even an op-ed from alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, headlined optimistically “I will do everything I can to give the ludicrous European Super League a straight red”. A Tory free marketeer intervening in the working of the, er, free market? “But you don’t need to be an expert to horrified at the prospect of the so-called Super League’ being cooked up by a small number of clubs” he blusters.

How different it all was when, back in 1992, every club in the old First Division of the Football League resigned its place and went off to form the FA Premier League. Today’s crop of inmates within the Baby Shard bunker may not realise it, but at the time, their predecessors weren’t castigating those breaking away for greed, or indeed for anything else. Because the Murdoch mafiosi had bought their way into the deal.

Too late Rupe - you sold Sky, remember?

During the 1980s, top clubs had increasingly played hardball with broadcasters: their stadia were in need of serious investment - the Hillsborough disaster and the Taylor Report spurring on the demands - and as a result, those clubs secured a lot more money for TV rights. But the Premier League promised yet more money.

And who was the broadcaster prepared to pony up an initial £304 million over five years in exchange for exclusive live TV rights? As if you need to ask: BSkyB, the domain of the Murdochs. Papers like the Sun had been massively profitable, keeping Sky’s creditors from the door during its early years - now Sky itself would become the cash cow.

By 2012, it was estimated that Premier League TV rights, including those to broadcast highlights, were worth £5 billion over three years. BT Sport muscled in on the action; Murdoch papers attacked BT, leading the clamour for the company to be broken up. But now, Sky and Murdoch have parted company. So the boot is firmly on the other foot.

The Murdoch press was all in favour of that greed back in the day, because they were in its vanguard. Now they are no longer there, greed has become A Very Bad Thing.

Hypocrisy and sour grapes never did look good together. I’ll just leave that one there.

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Anonymous said...

"Free market" my arse. It's the same old oligarch monopoly shite. Did "football" REALLY think it could escape the thievery? Even Rugby Union went full-on spiv. As have almost all professional sports. Nothing is free of the moral and financial corruption. That includes those who thought themselves safe and sound.

capitalism in action: it attaches itself to any form of successful human activity, sucks the life out of it, and leaves a hollowed out indebted husk. Clogs to clogs in one generation. The Premier League is little different.

Just one more symptom of the decaying Moral State We're In.

And there are still mugs who believe it's possible to accommodate this rottenness.

anon said...

The original pricing the fans out of the game model.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's a pr con.

The current UEFA proposal for the so-called "Champions" League allows for entry of "coefficient" clubs even if they don't qualify by performance!

Quite soon sports will be an utterly worthless rigged spectacle. Even snooker and cricket have been corrupted.

Players could stop it all overnight. But sadly they and their agents are a key problem in this disgusting pantomime.

Anonymous said...

No fan of Murdoch but the Premier League has been and continues to be a successful league and product. Millions around the world tune into it. Also smaller clubs get the chance to be in it and compete with the best teams in the country , this wouldn't happen in the Super League where only the elite clubs chosen by the rich would be allowed to compete and with no promotion and relegation.
I think if even those as stupid as The Sxn can see the Super League is a bad thing then it has to be terrible.

Mr Larrington said...

It looks very much as though the wheels have already come off the proposal with all six English clubs having a sudden change of heart. Some reports have both Milan sides and Atletico Madrid doing likewise. Barcelona is apparently going to put it to the club members (who are also its owners). I don't think there’s much money to be made out of a series consisting solely of Juventus v. Real Madrid matches.

Anonymous said...

To 21:14.

You're missing the point.

1. Football isn't, never has been, and never will be, a "product". It's a community-based SPORT. Hence community loyalty which sustained and made it a success for over a century...long before the Premier League turned it into a pigs trough of shares profiteering. Now it is an inflation-driven cartel of clubs in a crazy cycle of never ending indebtedness. It is the GAME which is a popular success, NOT the Premier League, NOT the "sponsors", and certainly NOT the assorted gang of spivs and barrow boys who bought ownership of too many clubs. Still less the so-called ESL.