Il Calcio Nuovo, a leap into the dark

The 20th century is over, the ball is free.

If philosophy has taught us one thing, perhaps one thing above all, it is that the greats Historical processes cannot be analyzed using moral categories. To liquidate the most profound changes of epochs with concepts and terms such as good and evil, right and wrong, is a simplification of a time that strives for answers and prefers immediacy to deepening the phenomena in their essence (assuming they have them). humorous reactions and immediate conclusions. We were also guilty of this when we took action against the conspirators after the attempted coup in the Super League, without understanding how much they were merely actors in a conspiracy.

When we screamed Join the Super League and hit the road We certainly had our reasons – we let the football plutocrats go with the flow and have their way, perhaps waiting out the rapids and becoming interested again in a more humane game – but we still retained a certain level of morality, profoundly assuming that someone (like UEFA and FIFA) could represent the lesser evil possibly an obstacle to the full liberalization of football, a katéchon (i.e. a stopping force) at the coming of the Antichrist.

Here we made a mistake of underestimation: we believed that the Super League coup was a coup, when it was just one of the inevitable consequences of a historical process. The truth is that after the convergence of geopolitics, politics, church, literature, etc., the 20th century also ended in football. He decreed it yesterday with his sentence, or rather with his sentences (we will come back to this) the Court of Justice of the European Unionwhich He finally liberalized football. “Freed” according to Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22 Sports, a company founded to organize the new Super League or whatever we want to call it. Who then restarted:

“We have received competition law. UEFA's monopoly is over. The clubs are now free from the threat of sanctions and can determine their own future. For the fans: We suggest free viewing of all Super League games. For clubs: income and solidarity expenses are guaranteed.”

So the core of the matter does not so much concern the Super League, which is not a cause but an effect: the core of the court's decision must be looked for somewhere else and even earlier, namely in official recognition of football as an industry. According to the European Court of Justice, football as an industry must be subject to the rules of free competition of the European market, but also to the laws governing the free movement of workers. In fact, the court ruled in another case, namely the UEFA lists and a guaranteed minimum of players trained in the club's youth system and in the national association itself (8 in total, 4+4), finding them incompatible with the freedom of movement of Workers guaranteed by Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

The appeal had actually been made by Antwerp and Lior Refaelov (new Bosman), and this new “revolution” began in Belgium. Nothing binding as far as the UEFA lists are concerned, and now the ball goes back to the Belgian justice system, but the signal is unmistakable: “Talent and performance play a fundamental role in professional football», says the ruling, and giving preference to players who grew up in the country would therefore be discrimination against players trained elsewhere and a limitation of the above-mentioned requirement. In short: football no longer has a “special status”.. And where it is recognized as one sector among others, it is clear that it must adapt to European standards in its various areas.

For this reason, the monopoly of organizations such as FIFA and UEFA was recognized as illegitimate, even an “abuse”: “FIFA and UEFA rules It is illegal to make new cross-club football projects such as the Super League dependent on their approval and to ban clubs and players from taking part in these competitions. Likewise, the rules that give FIFA and UEFA exclusive control over the commercial exploitation of the rights associated with such competitions are likely to restrict competition given their importance for the media, consumers and viewers in the European Union», is the sentence.

It still is: “The court finds that the organization of football competitions between clubs and the exploitation of media rights are obviously economic activities. They must therefore respect the rules of competition and freedom of movement (…). In parallel, the Court finds that this is the case FIFA and UEFA regulations for the exploitation of media rights are likely to harm European football clubs, all companies operating in the media markets and ultimately consumers and television viewers by preventing them from taking part in new and potentially innovative or interesting competitions».

The conclusion is clear and succinct: “LTherefore FIFA and UEFA are Abuse of a dominant market position».

Apart from the rather peculiar tone of some passages of the sentence – for example the one about the disability of “Enjoy new and potentially innovative or interesting competitions», as if it were the job of the European Court of Justice to determine which competitions are potentially “innovative” or “interesting” (?) – the fact remains that this ruling will mark a turning point in the world of international football. But it is the verdict that makes the difference, not the Super League: The Super League is just a form of the zeitgeist, broken and vulgar, if you will.

The same zeitgeist that he forced on his ex best game in the world, not as a more beautiful ex, but as an ex-game, a profound genetic mutation, an economic-financial-commercial distortion that has already made it an insatiable and disproportionate entertainment product for years. The 20th century also ended in football and the football facility of the 20th centurythat of national championships and limited international competitions, it couldn't hold any longerso much so that it has already had to expand its boundaries by introducing new tournaments, inflated World Cups for clubs and national teams, expanded Champions Leagues, etc.

A ball that is forced to feed itself again and again. Forced to swell keep hopping.

Ultimately, it is a war between empires, as he defined it at the time The teamfrom that Choice of owner to adopt. What is much more complicated to understand is what will happen now. Everyone questions themselves, everyone with their own hypothesis, but no one with certainty, while many clubs (more than 50) have already competed against the Super League: from Manchester United to Manchester City, from Chelsea to Arsenal, from Atletico Madrid to Bayern Monaco and gradually many others, including our Italian teams (especially Inter, Roma and Atalanta). The same applies to the national football associations, which have even floated the possibility of excluding anyone who joins the Super League from their competitions (this is difficult for them, considering that UEFA is prohibited from imposing penalties and to take sanctions). .

Let's assume that the majority of European football has once again remained alongside the ECA, UEFA and FIFA, and that is the case difficult to imagine as the hypothetical competition described by A22 Sports, consisting of three tiers and 64 teams (and currently only two members), can materialize. Nevertheless, this statement raises questions typical of the free market: why should a club, apart from clubs linked by structural or personal ties to the ECA, UEFA and FIFA, forego the economic-commercial development opportunities that the Super League offers? This would allow him to actually multiply his income and remain loyal to traditional institutions – even more so if they do not have the deterrent effect of sanctions?

Why should a club prefer the income from TV rights and results (national and international) to the potentially much larger income of an alternative competition, which now apparently wants to recognize a loyalty bonus of up to one billion euros? to Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​​​distributing riches to new members and offering free games to all fans? There are certainly reasons when you consider another outcry from European football. But we are now in a power war that is difficult to decipher in its actual balance of power and also in its goals – there are even those who do not speak of a war, but of a major negotiation.

Ultimately, it's not about who will implement the complete liberalization of football, it's about that Liberalization is already a reality: Between the new 64-team Super League and the UEFA competitions, basically only the judgment of the field and the performance component (apparently), i.e. the “European” qualification guaranteed by placement in the national championships – changes from this Reason a A large part of La Liga protested against the new format under the slogan “Get him on the pitch!' (defeating him on the field). A central factor in football, of course, but partly added by the former coup plotters and definitely the only one that currently makes a real difference.

So the crux of the matter is this The European Court of Justice has equated this – understandable now, although dramatic for us – Football into an industry; It ended the 20th century of football, that of nation states, and ushered in the 21st century of football, that of free competition, the free market and freedom of movement. A historical sentence, but in the sense that it is the result of a historical process and historical conditions (political and economic). As far as we are concerned, like in the supermarket, we can only choose one brand: Pepsi or Coca-Cola? FIFA/UEFA or SuperLeague? As everyone likes it, we are still in the free European market.

“A regressive transformation, a return, in whatever sense and to whatever extent, is not at all possible. At least that's what we know. (…) Nobody has the freedom to be a shrimp. It's no use: you have to move forward, one step at a time, further and further in decadence (that’s my definition of modern “progress”). You can inhibit this development and, by inhibiting it, stop the degeneration itself, concentrate it, make it more violent and sudden: that's all you can do.

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Twilight of the Idols, 1888

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