This week, the world learned that the greedy owners of the world’s biggest football clubs banded together to propose a non-competitive, self-serving, breakaway league called the European Super League.
Instantly, the media were outraged, the fans were outraged, the governing bodies of the sport were outraged, politicians were outraged, Royal family members were outraged. Later, football managers and players, including those of the clubs that had banded together, spoke out about their opposition to this new competition. Two days after the announcement, fans took to the streets to protest in front of the stadiums, delaying the team buses from arriving to start their game.
Shortly after, the greedy owners began to fold under the pressure of the opposition, and their plans have been all but scrapped. The figures involved in these devious plans have shown their hand and are now being driven away from the very clubs that they own.
So what can we take away from this?
Firstly, that a lot of rich people are self-serving and greedy. We live in a world where the biggest companies pay next to no tax to countries that they operate in. They feel invincible because they know that the public will be in uproar if they can’t log into Facebook or if they couldn’t buy the newest iPhone because of these companies’ tax avoidance. We all need to be aware of this, and we need to recognize when these companies are no longer helping the societies they claim to serve.
The second takeaway is how quickly change can occur when multiple parties unite with a common cause. The collective love of football and their biggest institutions (and conversely the hate of their owners) meant that the European Super League plans were scrapped just two days after being announced. Meanwhile in the wider world, there is huge wealth inequality, poverty, multiple kinds of discrimination, refugee crises, and many other issues in our societies. What would happen if we could unite as passionately against some of these issues too? Would it be as simple as this to create rapid change?
The real downfall of the European Super League is how drastic the proposed changes were. Human beings are all naturally resistant to change, and find comfort in the way things already are. In contrast, things like the increasing wealth gap slowly creep up on us, so the effects don’t feel quite as abrupt. This could be another reason why these societal issues are such difficult problems to tackle.
Overall, we can take solace in the fact that ordinary people can force the oligarchs of this world to change their decisions, but we need the help of the other parties too. That is, members of the media, royalty, politicians, charities, unions, and governing bodies.