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Opinion

The lesson football’s would-be wreckers could learn from racing

OPINION: The greed-driven push for a European Super League that threatened to tear football apart is collapsing at the seams. Motor racing's equivalent, the football-themed Superleague Formula series of 2008-11, was everything that the proposed ESL never could be.

In the world of football, plans announced last Sunday for the creation of a new 12-club European Super League rightly sparked outrage and condemnation, and has resulted in all six of the founding English clubs pulling out. Despite proclamations from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez that the new league was needed to ‘save football’, the notion of the ESL amounts to little more than a cynical money grab by the billionaire owners of its founding clubs, attempting to shut out competition and pool lucrative TV deals between them. And to hell with the consequences for everyone else.

Motorsport is hardly a paragon of virtue when it comes to talks of damaging breakaways. Formula 1 came to the brink in 1981, and again in 2009 at the British Grand Prix, which marked the peak of the row over the FIA’s mooted £30million cost cap for 2010. Prior to that, in 1961 there had been the Intercontinental Formula for cars up to three-litre capacity launched in protest at F1’s new 1.5-litre rulebook. None had a lasting impact.  

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