The fury of football fans is on full display in YouGov’s latest snap poll
Rumours have long abounded of a break away by the football big clubs, and now their plot has come to fruition as 12 of Europe’s biggest teams have revealed their plans for the new European Super League (ESL).
English sides leading the charge include “the big six”: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. From elsewhere in Europe, the founding members of the league include Italian sides AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan and Spanish sides Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, with a further three clubs yet to be named.
Teams in the European Super League will continue to compete in their respective national leagues, but the European Super League would effectively compete with the current Champions League.
Fans are opposed to the new league, and aren’t interested in watching it
Our snap poll shows just how strongly fans feel, with nearly eight in ten (79%) of those who follow football opposed to the new league, including over two thirds (68%) who “strongly oppose” the ESL’s creation.
Opposition is highest among fans of the left-behind Premier League teams, with 88% of those following a team outside the big six opposed to the European Super League, compared to 76% of fans of the big six themselves.
Only 14% of football fans are in favour of the new league. Even among fans of the big six set to be part of the ESL, fewer than a fifth (19%) support of its creation.
As well as being opposed to the new league’s creation, only a fifth of those who follow football (21%) expressed an interest in watching ESL matches when the season begins.
While some three in ten supporters of the English sides taking part (31%) are interested in watching, two thirds (68%) are not.
Among fans of Premier League teams outside the big six, interest is even lower, with only 13% interested in watching compared to eight in ten (83%) who are not interested in tuning in.
In fact, three quarters of fans (76%) would rather their team not join the European Super League, including a similar proportion of those who support one of the big six clubs acting as founding members (74%).
Cashing in: fans don’t think clubs have the wishes of fans at heart, and don’t think it will be good for smaller clubs
Chairman of the European Super League, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has said the new competition would "help football at every level” and their “responsibility as big clubs is to respond to [fan’s] desires”. However, fans don’t see the creation of the European Super League as being either motivated by what fans want to see, nor as good for lower level clubs.
The vast majority of football followers think that the 12 founding clubs have been motivated more by financial gain (89%), with just 3% thinking that the creation of the European Super League is being driven more by fan’s desires, while some 5% think both motivations have played a part.
Fans of the big six are under no illusions either, with the same proportion (89%) thinking the new league is being motivated more by money than the wishes of fans.
While some clubs stand to make millions, fans also do not believe the new league will benefit the beautiful game as whole, and think smaller clubs are set to lose out. Only 7% of football followers think smaller clubs in lower domestic leagues will benefit monetarily as a result of the ESL’s formation, with 75% thinking smaller clubs will suffer financially.
Half of fans think clubs in the European Super League should face expulsion from domestic leagues
UEFA, the governing body of Football in Europe, has warned of repercussions for the clubs breaking away to form the European Super League, including bans from taking part in other domestic leagues.
While fans are opposed to the creation of the league, not all want to see punishments brought against clubs taking part. Some 51% of football followers think the clubs themselves should face punishments for joining the European Super League, however 73% think action should be levied against the club owners.
Some 46% of big six fans think member clubs of the European Super League should face punishment, compared to 56% of other Premier League club fans. Only one in eight fans think punishments should be directed at managers (12%) and players (13%), and 10% say there should be no negative consequences at all.
Fans are out for blood when it comes to the clubs themselves: 55% think those forming the European Super League should face financial penalties, 51% think they should be expelled from domestic leagues as threatened by UEFA, and 32% think they should face a points reduction in their domestic leagues. A fifth (22%) would even support breakaway clubs being stripped of past domestic titles.
Even fans of the big six are not opposed to their own clubs being punished, with 55% also backing financial penalties for the founders, and 30% thinking they should lose points from their domestic tables.
However, among fans of other Premier League teams, two thirds (66%) would support booting the European Super League teams out of their domestic leagues, compared to 44% of big six fans.
See full results here
YouGov polled 1,730 people. The survey was conducted on 19 April, 2021 between 13:48. and 15:16. Survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, region, social grade, and level of education in United Kingdom
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