This headline will come as no surprise, especially not to us NUFC supporters.
In the past 18 months, we’ve seen the Premier League effectively filibuster our takeover and the supposed “top six” teams (two of which finished outside of the top six last season) try to form a breakaway, gated competition.
By now, we’ve all seen the infamous “we don’t want too many Leicester Citys” quote that was first broken by The Independent’s Miguel Delaney in February 2020, but it’s never been more pertinent as our CAT jurisdiction comes up this week.
It goes without saying that the Premier League and the clubs in the upper echelons are anti-competition. Of course you’d want to protect your income and your success, but it’s going too far.
It’s utter madness that the richest and most successful clubs (well, except Tottenham on the latter point) have the power to veto another club’s takeover. But ultimately, it’s the Premier League letting them get away with it.
Why wouldn’t the Premier League itself want a more competitive league with even more money floating around?
Especially when the club in question is a sleeping giant with (maybe inexplicably) an already huge global following despite limited success. We have the potential to be a cash cow.
But let’s look at these clubs. They were fined £22m between them for the European Super League fiasco. Between six clubs. That’s less than Joelinton cost. It’s barely a slap on the wrist.
If they try it again, they’ll be fined £25m each. Still less than Joelinton cost, and probably one day’s worth of matchday revenue.
You then compare it to the likes of Derby County, who’ve been hit with a points deduction for struggling financially. A punishment for struggling to stay afloat during a global pandemic. And yet we have moneybags Mike Ashley crying about the impact COVID has had on United and using it as an excuse to not dip into his pockets. Doesn’t really compare, does it?
The CAT jurisdiction will decide whether the anti-competition complaint will go ahead, and it’ll set the precedent for whether or not the Premier League and the most powerful clubs will continue to get away with meddling in other clubs’ affairs.
We all know there was corruption, and it’s being disguised as a moral stance. The Saudi state is horrifying, but let’s not pretend that it was going to control the club. And let’s also not pretend that there isn’t already heaps of dirty money in the league.
This has been dragged out for long enough, and now we’re all tired. The hearings have been pushed back continuously, under the guise of COVID. In the era of Zoom, that’s a poor excuse. We’re at the point where we just want an answer, any answer. We’re becoming bored of arguing for the takeover, even though we know it’s right. But that’s exactly what the powers that be want, isn’t it? It’s the same tactics used to veto the takeover, biding time until eventually the buyers pulled out.
In a world where there are fewer Leicester Citys than ever, wouldn’t it be nice to have another one? Especially if that’s NUFC.