Is the European Super League about to bring the 1975 film Rollerball into existence?
2077 The Football of the Future
Wow. Big statement. So Let me explain.
The European Super League was announced to the public on the 18th April 2021. This involved 12 super clubs in European Football stating an intention to create a new breakaway tournament. The clubs who stated their intention were AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid, Barcelona, Tottenham, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.
For any Americans reading this I will not refer to football as soccer. It is mainly your money and concept of sport bringing about these changes so when and if you finally buy the whole system you can name it what you like. For now, football will be called football as it should be.
The initial proposal was a rival competition of the Champions League tournament involving twenty teams. An alternative competition. The news was reported as all clubs were setting up their own league outside of the control of all currently existing governing bodies. This was slightly inaccurate. Now less than 24 hours later, managers are being sacked and resignations at the highest levels are happening and I have no idea what the state of play will be in another twenty-four hours. There are threats of deducting points from the teams, banning them from domestic competition and refusing participating players the options to represent their countries at a national level. Lawyers and court cases are already being prepared.
This is not civil war, this is nuclear war
Unnamed Football board member speaking to Sky Sports
...is doing the rounds.
So what is the end game.
...the project is an attempt to reshape European football into an NBA-like tournament "in which every match is an event, and the sport is the means rather than the end: a huge match every night, players who are paid tens of millions per season, extortionate tickets and audiences of billions of people. It's the furthest thing from the European idea of football - and of sport."
Il Fatto Quotidiano (Italian Newspaper)
A breakaway competitive league is looking extremely likely, if not now, sometime in the near future. There are a couple of truths not being currently spoken. The Champions League and UEFA the governing body has clearly been aware of this plan for some time and has been reformatting The Champions League to compete with this new format. A new league would be under its own legislative authority, with an ability to change the rules, change the play time, break halves into quarters and even add extra substitutions or even players.
This has led me to the ‘What If’ scenario or should I say ‘Looking More Likely’ scenario of are we about to see the creation of a sport that resembles the sport in the 1975 film Rollerball.
So imagine this distant dystopian future. All sport is centred around a single game, a world league. Some massive changes have taken place and with technology taking over all aspects of life the sole focus is on the ‘World Soccer League’, I know I said I would not call it that but it is the Americans they spoil everything. This is the sole bite of reality and real world existence for the eleven billion residents of the Earth.
There are eight teams.
The Moscow Blues (aka Chelski)
Due to declining political relations between Russia and the United Kingdom, this was the first team to relocate way back in 2029. With greater tax impositions placed on the owners they moved from Stanford Bridge to a brand new super stadium in Moscow and still today work closely with the government who stands as a powerful patron for the club.
The Green Devils
This club was formed in 2048 as a punishment after that decade’s Corporation Wars. The old clubs of Manchester United and Manchester City amalgamated. In retaliation to the government and refusing to pay them anymore tax revenue they relocated to the Isle of Man. Building a whole new infrastructure for the island as a reward for hosting them.
The Madrid Bulls
Another club formed in 2048 as punishment for the Corporation Wars. It is made up of the three Spanish Clubs Real Madrid, Athletico Madrid and Barcelona.
The Houston Reds
This club is the old Liverpool club of legend. They relocated temporarily to escape the civil unrest in the United Kingdom in 2037. With the abolishment of Major League Baseball they temporarily played at the old Red Sox ground. They soon relocated to New Anfield in Houston after Texas seceded. The move is 'still' only temporary but after 40 years the fans are still left scratching their heads.
The only remaining old club, in name and location.
The Cape Town Cowgirls
Established in 2061. They play on top of Tabletop Mountain. A team of players that solely identify as female. Gender requirements for the league were abolished with the addition of the all-time great Ella Zero in 2036.
The Tokyo Tigers
Established in 2048. Play in Tokyo
Established in 2040. Play in Rio de Janeiro.
The rules are slightly different from the ancient game that dominated the last century.
• The World Soccer League (Ugh) is played by two teams of 15 players each (two goal keepers, ten outfield players and three motorcyclists). Unlimited squads and substitutions are allowed.
• The game is played in three 20-minute periods, making for one hour of total playing time.
• The dimensions of pitch vary from stadium to stadium. So does the terrain. You have the super modern Tokyo indoor arena as opposed to the rock strewn fields of The Cape Town Cowgirls. This introduction was inspired by the ancient sport of Tennis. New obstacles and field elements are introduced at the beginning of most seasons.
• Goals are scored by placing the ball in the opposing teams net. Within the goal area any part of the body may be used. This is the Diego Maradona rule. Outside the area goals can only be scored by kicking the ball. The offside rule was abolished in 2039 to speed up play.
• Motor cyclists are not allowed to enter the goal area.
• Outfield players may utilise the platform on the back of the motorcycle, to gain momentum or launch a tackle on an opposing team’s player.
• Motorcyclists may attempt to block the opposing team's players.
• Injured players are removed from the field by medics and are replaced with "substitutes" (that is, fresh players). Play does not stop.
• Outfield players may use force against each other, but not against motorcyclists.
• Motorcyclists cannot use force against outfield players or each other.
• No player are permitted to forcibly engage fallen players.
Violating any of these three rules is punishable by three minutes out of play; a concept taken from the ancient sport of Ice Hockey. Repeated violations may result in that player being removed from the game.
Controversially all these long honoured and cherished rules would be subject to a shakeup in the ground breaking 2077 season.
Jonathan E. is the team captain and veteran star of The Houston Reds team. He is the sports superstar. His face is on banners and posters the world over. After his team’s latest victory against The Madrid Bulls, EP Morgan, chairman of the League, whose headquarters is Houston, announces that Jonathan will be featured in a contracted special broadcast about his career.
EP Morgan informs Jonathan that it is time for him to retire. He offers the superstar an amazing severance package, if the announcement is made during the special. EP Morgan gives the most eloquent speech about the benefits of corporate-run society and the importance of respecting executive decisions. He never explains why he must retire. Jonathan refuses.
Suspicious of a forced retirement, Jonathan goes to a library and asks for books about the history of the game soccer, he is surprised to find out the game was originally called football. On investigation he discovers all books are now digitised and "edited" to suit the corporations. Cletus, Houston's former coach who discovered Jonathan playing illegal street ball and brought him along to the club to develop his talent, is an executive as well as Jonathan's friend. He warns him that the Executive Committee is afraid of him, though he cannot learn why people so powerful would be afraid of a soccer player, no Jonathan corrects himself a football player even if he was the best player in the world.
The league soon degrades into senseless violence as the rules are changed just to force Jonathan out. Houston's semi-final game against Tokyo has no penalties and only limited substitutions. The brutality of the match kills several players, including Houston's lead biker, Blue. Jonathan's best friend and teammate, Moonpie, is ganged up on by three Tokyo team members and rendered unconscious. Despite the violence, The Houston Reds are victorious and will play Eternal Rio for the world championship.
EP Morgan hosts an executive zoom call to discuss the future of the league. A decision is reached that 'The Houston Reds – Eternal Rio' game will be played with no penalties, no substitutions, and no time limit in the hope that Jonathan, if he decides to play, will be killed during the game. The conference reveals why Jonathan must retire: The League was established not only to satisfy humanity aggression, but to crush any ideals of individualism. Jonathan's popularity is threatening this purpose.
Jonathan makes his way to Paris to access the world's central supercomputer, known as Anti-Fifa. This is the central home of all human knowledge. The problem is Anti-Fifa’s memories are corrupted. Jonathan's goal is to find out how the corporations make their decisions and what the true origins and purpose of the beautiful game were. This proves to be impossible. Where there should be a truth, an answer, he finds doubletalk, contradictions and a fragile, exposed recounting of the past. The computer descends into a tailspin endlessly repeating the Napoleon quote, “History is written by the victors”.
The final match quickly descends into chaos. All the players are quickly injured or killed. The crowd initially loves it. The League executives watch as the viewing figures are off the charts. As the carnage intensifies the mood however becomes more subdued. Jonathan is soon the only player left on the track for The Houston Reds, while a single outfield player and a motorcyclist remain from Eternal Rio. After a violent clash in front of E.P. Morgan's box, Jonathan destroys the opposing player and takes the ball from him. The motorcyclist charges but Jonathan leaps up and tackles him two footed, knocking him off his bike. He pins the motorcyclist down and raises his fist, then pauses. He refuses to kill the fallen player. Jonathan gets to his feet and makes his way to the goal. He flips up the ball and bicycle kicks it into the goal, scoring the game's only point.
Jonathan slowly jogs around the track in silent victory. The coaches and fans of both teams chant his name, first softly, then louder and louder and he continues his lap. E.P. Morgan exits the arena, fearing a riot, as the chant of "Jonathan! Jonathan! Jonathan!" becomes a roar.
Then a single gunshot from a sniper rings out, killing Jonathon. It is a horrific ending to the story but what do you expect. The corporations will win no matter what because…
History is always written by the victors
Welcome to the future of the beautiful game.
This has been written independently by myself and I am not a part of any organisation. I write strange stuff like this because I would rather it be down on the page than rattling around in my head. So thank you for getting this far.
My reach is decided by you. So if you think this should reach a little further please share it.
If not that is also cool and I wish you an awesome day.
About the author
Raised in the UK by an Irish mother and Scouse father.
Now confined in France raising sheep.
Those who tell the stories rule society.
If a story I write makes you smile, laugh or cry I would be honoured if you shared it and passed it on..