Review Apple TV+-series ‘Super League: The War for Football’
Surprisingly exciting documentary about the founding and cancellation of the Super League.
Soccer, is it a sport of the people or of billionaires? Some of the latter tried to secure their interests in 2021 by creating the Super League. However, his plan was canceled again in a few days. Superliga: The war for football is in the hands of the creators of, among others DO: Judgment for America in The two Escobars a surprisingly exciting reconstruction of this event.
Why is it a surprise? Because the series is mainly made up of a group of rich people who tell their story in front of the camera and football journalists who interpret it. But all this is successfully presented as an exciting thriller full of betrayals and unexpected twists. At first that’s still a bit ridiculous, especially since it all happened in just three days, for which no less than four episodes of about an hour each are allocated.
The first of them even deals entirely with the day before the announcement of the Super League. For a moment, it seems as if UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin is portrayed as the hero of the soccer world, a lifeline against the angry bosses of Europe’s richest soccer clubs. But little by little that image is shading. Because the title war is one for the soul of the sport, but the question is whether one of the two main warring parties can save that soul.
Soccer is the most popular sport worldwide and continues to be presented as a true popular sport, by and for workers. But does football still belong to the working man and woman? Political and financial interests are now so great that “normal” people seem to have little say in the matter. This problem also appears in Superliga: The war for football.
That Super League was not only created by a series of wealthy owners, but also by the increasingly untenable situation the sport finds itself in. Fueled by oligarchs with seemingly bottomless wallets, TV and player rights fees are getting higher and fewer clubs can really compete for the top prizes.
But meanwhile, the idea that everyone, even the smallest clubs in Europe, has a chance to win the Champions League in principle is used as the main argument against the Super League. Because it is set up in such a way that the twelve clubs that make it up, plus three other big clubs in Europe, have a place in the Super League guaranteed for decades to come. That goes against the idea of competition, as much as that competition is now influenced by the budgets of the big clubs.
In Superliga: The war for football all the key players are represented. On the one hand, these are the representatives of UEFA and its allies, including the owner of Paris Saint-German and a key man at Bayern Munich, but also the fans of the English clubs involved. And on the other hand, the founders of the Super League, including the owner of Juventus and the presidents of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Even though it’s mainly the old men explaining their arguments against the camera, it’s still exciting. Not only thanks to dynamic editing, but also precisely by working everything in maximum detail and without taking sides. Thus, the titanic battle also becomes a question of who gets to publish which press release first, who can convince whom first, and who is lying to whom or has lied to whom for years.
The only dramatic aspect that is not fully reflected is the friendship and then the betrayal between Aleksander Čeferin and Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli. Which is to say, as much as the emphasis is placed, too little a feud between two wealthy men who have only known each other for a few years. Probably the sociological aspects surrounding football, the love of football and the supposed ownership and importance of football could have been explored a bit more instead of the fighting cockfight.
Superliga: The war for football it feels especially relevant in the wake of the World Cup in Qatar at the end of 2022, where the violation of human rights was less important than money and power. FIFA boss Gianni Infantino even pops in for a moment to contribute. Despite the fact that this whole story also pays a lot of attention to the fans’ protests against the Super League, the impression remains that football fans hardly play a role in the world of football anymore. Certainly not the local foodie. The footballers a little more.
Superliga: The war for football can be seen in AppleTV+.