Canada News Agency

How have soccer fans reacted to the European Super League?

On Sunday, 12 of Europe's richest soccer clubs announced they were forming a new 20-team European Super League, something that could change the sport as we know it.

Fans across the globe watch these clubs week in, week out. In the stadium, watching live, or sitting in front of a television on the other side of the world, they have a shared passion for soccer.

But the ESL announcement has divided supporters - is it good or bad for the future of the sport?
 

Who's against the ESL?

In England the prevailing view among fans is that the greed of already rich owners is the reason this new league is being formed. Many even condemn their own club's decisions. 

"Personally, I think the Super League's just built on greed by billionaire owners just not thinking about fans, not thinking about the teams lower down. It's just built on greed, really," Manchester United fan, Max Morgan said. 

Elsewhere, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to echo the thoughts of many fans by calling for the clubs to back down.

"The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps," Johnson added. 

Italian fans also seem to be heavily critical of the ESL, among them Juventus supporter Roberto Mercandel.

"I am against the Super League as it has been defined, because it will cause fairly significant economic damage to small clubs. It's not a good deal. In this way, only clubs with big capital, of companies quoted on the stock exchange, are protected, while small clubs are left to their own devices," he said. 

Everton Football Club has also released a strongly worded statement calling for the so-called "big six" clubs in England to back down. 

"Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs. Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests. Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game. Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond," the statement read.
 

Who's for the ESL? 

In Beijing, 38-year-old Inter Milan fan Kevin Wang is looking forward to watching some of the best players in the world battle it out each week. 

"As an ordinary member of the public, I'm actually quite looking forward to this league. That's because, as a fan, I'm mostly interested in watching these amazing matches and stiff competition. This could have a lot more appeal [than other competitions]," he said. 

Spanish clubs Barcelona and Real Madrid are said to be two of the driving forces behind the ESL, due to their poor financial records in recent years. 

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez has defended the decision to form the new league: "We want to save football so that it can live peacefully for at least the next 20 years, without stress and without having to say 200 million euros [$240m] have been lost. The situation, I tell you, is very dramatic," he said.

The Spanish clubs' fanbases are divided, with some thinking it's a bad move for them and the competitions they currently take part in, while others, like Barcelona fan Jaime Puigdemon believe the benefits outweigh the risks. 

"I think it's a good thing. The world has to evolve. It's been the same for years now, so this will be an evolution. I enjoy the Champions League more than the league," he said.

Former New Zealand international player David Mulligan also believes the competition will be good for the game.

What about the fans of clubs that have rejected the ESL?

Clubs like Germany's Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and France's Paris-Saint Germain (PSG), have decided to shun the ESL. It's a decision that's found backing among their fans.

PSG fan Xavier Chevalier said: "I am rather happy that PSG is not participating in this project for the moment. But I am not completely naive, I think that the interests of the club today are not those of this group of 12, that there are undoubtedly points on which they do not agree to join this league and not just for the beauty of the gesture and the romanticism of football."

PSG player Ander Herrera also released a strongly worded statement on his Twitter account.