The Champions League disaster is why FC Barcelona and Juventus are chasing a European Super League

Wednesday night was exactly the kind of night Andrea Agnelli wants to avoid.

The Juventus president saw his side suffer a surprise 2-0 defeat to Israeli club Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League group stage. Leave Juventus on the brink of exiting European football’s most prestigious club competition before the knockout stage.

For Joan Laporta, president of FC Barcelona, ​​the situation seems equally bleak. The Catalan giant drew 3-3 with Inter and is almost certain to enter the second division Europa League.

Disruptions like this are what makes the Champions League, certainly in the group stage, interesting. They are also a big part of why FC Barcelona, ​​Juventus and Real Madrid continue to push for a European Super League (ESL).

A report in The Telegraph last week said the owners of the three clubs will renew efforts to launch the separatist competition. They are already pursuing its creation through the courts. In December, the European Court of Justice will issue a non-binding opinion on the legality of the FGE.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told the club’s general meeting this month that football “is sick” as he pushed the case for an ESL. Laporta said the FSA is a “necessity” to compete with “state clubs”.

It is no coincidence that the renewed campaign for the ESL comes as FC Barcelona and Juventus face financial problems. Juventus announced a record loss of $ 246 million in September, while Barcelona resorted to the sale of stakes in the club’s businesses to finance the signings of new players.

The two clubs would have been counting on going deep into the Champions League to bring in much needed revenue. Instead, it seems likely that both will have to settle for the reduced riches offered in the Europa League.

An ESL would eliminate the danger that occasionally sees larger teams losing to smaller rivals. There would be no Maccabi Haifa. There would be no Club Brugge, the Belgian club that beat Atletico Madrid (another founding member of the ESL) on the way to the top of its Champions League group.

Rather, the FSA would be the largest club (or, more accurately, the largest at this point in football history) playing on repeat.

Proponents, such as Agnelli, Laporta and Perez, say this is what fans, especially younger ones, want. Bigger teams play against each other more regularly. The best football stars compete every week.

The idea is that this would be equally attractive to broadcasters and investors. Investment bank JP Morgan pledged € 3.25 billion ($ 3.16 billion) in the FGE when it was first proposed in April 2021.

However, while it should provide some financial certainty, an ESL would not necessarily improve the performance on the pitch for FC Barcelona and Juventus. They would lose the games anyway.

The difference is that those losses would be against rivals of a similar size. It is no shame to lose to Bayern Munich or Manchester City, especially when you know that you will soon have a chance to take revenge.

A defeat you expect halfway through is better than one you’ve never seen coming.

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