Money and sports don't mix, I'll just put that out there. It's fundamentally different if you play a game or sport just for the honor and prestige associated with a win, opposed to playing for a pay-check; winning then becomes an existential necessity, inviting all kinds of shenanigans and cheats.
With money involved, winning becomes more important than the game itself. For some this is the case even without the money, but money makes it worse; I'll just point to the use of doping in many professional sports, where this isn't nearly as large a problem in amateur sports. But that's not the only way money and capitalism ruin sports; the past three or four days football lovers (or soccer lovers, if you're an American) have been witness to the botched plans for a new league: the European Super League, in which 12 of Europe's biggest football teams would break away from the traditional competition structure to start their own new championship. The founders reasoned that this was necessary because younger people are losing interest in the sport, and because income was limited to TV revenues only because of the pandemic...
This didn't go down well with clubs that weren't invited, the fans of all clubs including the ones that would join the new league, European governing bodies of the sport and many prominent players and pundits related to the sport. Especially in England, the sport's birthplace, there was immediately a lot of loud protest against this plan. Watch the first video with commentary of Gary Neville, an ex player, commentator for Sky Sports and coach, who says that he's disgusted by this plan born out of greed. That's what it is, you know. This sport, as well as many others, is completely taken over by the lust for money and profits by which all is measured in late stage capitalism. In England the six biggest clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, were planning to join the new league, and they would receive 3.5 billion euros from investment bank J.P. Morgan.
"I'm absolutely DISGUSTED!" | Gary Neville's verdict on the European Super League proposals
One of the pundits on Sky Sports had this to say:
"And we're being told also that in general the owners' view is this, and this is a quote from a board member of one of the six clubs: 'Our primary job is to maximize our revenues and profits. The wider good of the game is a secondary concern...'"
Since all this news was released, a YouGov poll showed that 79% of England's football fans are opposed to this plan, and besides Gary Neville nearly all prominent voices in the sport opposed this plan as well. I don't believe the ESL chairman, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, counted on this much opposition; yesterday all clubs involved issued a press release saying that they will reconsider, with the first withdrawals coming from the English clubs. Linked below is a video about that. But what I want to say in this post is that "Disaster Capitalism" has become part and parcel of all aspects of our western societies and cultures. And that's horrible. Even football, a sport that has been built on strong traditional communal values, with clubs that are revered among their local supporters, was willing to betray its fan-base that's been built up over a century, for a few dollars more...
ESL Behind the scenes: What's next for the European Super League?
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