Fantastical Beauty

Some might be astonished by the outrage being expressed at the proposal to set up a European Super League. To hear leading figures in an international business that has thrived on and majored in nationalism, racism, violence, corruption and greed demanding that the initiative be opposed as being contrary to the sporting ethic and driven by avarice might, at best, be thought humorous. Might the truth be that those with their snouts in the current football trough are concerned that they will not be invited to put their snouts in the new and even deeper trough. 

As to the outrage of local fans, the phrase “fantasy football” might seem oxymoronic. The “beautiful game” that they worship, and their claimed role in it have no reality at the top of the game. What is more, their views, despite their proprietorial pretensions, are no longer of much significance, financial or otherwise, to the top clubs even as a herd of dependable season ticket holding cash-cows. And in any event, the history of the business shows that fans generally oppose change, are then ignored and thereafter resurrect the fantasy and flock along in ever greater numbers to watch the contests.

The one thing that is guaranteed is that the hole left in many people’s ‘fun-calendars’ by Trump exiting the White House and Brexit being done may, in some small part, now be filled by the spectacle of the posh boys in the government competing to claim their deep attachment to ‘the people’s game’ and insisting that something must and will be done, that something being what? To preserve a business arrangement which often enough incites nationalism and racism along with violence, corruption and greed? Hardly. Yet if they seek reforms that try to give some reality to the ‘fantasy football’ of “the beautiful game” with fan-centred clubs, sporting ethics and integrity, they will fail. First, because football is an international business and beyond their national jurisdiction. Secondly, those whose snouts are already in the trough will be no more in favour of such reforms than they are in favour of any change that threatens their fiefdoms.

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