The football world was shocked with the announcement that 12 elite clubs had agreed to form the European Supper League. This was widely viewed to undermine the UEFA Champions League and the respective country's Premier leagues. Despite clarification from founder clubs that the clubs will continue to participate in the premier leagues; fans, journalists, former and current players voiced their displeasure in the move.
The protests led to the resignation of club heads at Juventus and Manchester United. Further, clubs have initiated processes to exit the ESL even before it has started.
It is now evident that the ESL will now remain an idea, but whoever pays the piper calls the tune. These are the richest and widely supported clubs in the world; we cannot just wish them away. Soon, the ESL will mutate and take football center stage. We will see how African football will be affected with ESL in effect.
Some of the less lucrative clubs in Europe have in the past found it more economical to develop academy standards through partnerships with local African clubs. Through such partnerships, the elite young African players are assured of an opportunity to get a foothold in Europe. This is as evidenced in the US sports industry in the advent of franchise sports that has had the effect of killing local sports clubs. If this scenario is replicated in Europe the dreams of many young players will be dashed. It is estimated that more than 5000 Nigerians pro ply their trade across European league tiers.
It is a foregone conclusion that the tug of war between those for or against this project will find their way to a court of law. If the ESL proponents win in court it may set unfavorable legal precedent for the local African soccer scene. CAF has also been flouting such a concept in Africa. Most soccer puritans, as seen from ongoing reactions around the world are wary of a scenario where a wealth of clubs trumps merit.
African clubs have recently started benefiting from lucrative deals with international clubs. The success of the ESL is anchored on sustained viewer interest in the "founder clubs". Those against foresee the ESL becoming dull. However, the ardent fans who were used to their teams dominating nationally perennially, seeing them under-performing may make them lose interest. To the neutrals, a protracted civil war within the European soccer setup may also lose their interest. If the ESL fails for this reason or any other reason would it have a ripple effect on the subsequent broadcast deals for African soccer?