Wenger’s 12-year-old ‘Super League’ prediction was sadly accurate

A wide variety of names from across the footballing world have today responded to the bombshell news that 12 European clubs have agreed to establish a Super League.

Gary Neville savaged the proposals live on Sky Sports on Sunday, saying that he was “disgusted” by the news.

Other football icons such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Lineker and Jamie Carragher have also had their say.

But one man who in fact predicted a similar concept to the Super League some time ago was former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal are one of the 12 clubs to have signed up to the Super League.

The Frenchman, who managed the Gunners between 1996 and 2018, said in 2009 that he could envisage what he called a ‘European league’ taking place 10 years from then.

He was only marginally wrong on the timing front, but his comments are certainly intriguing – and somewhat sad – to look back on.

Wenger discussed how the league must have promotion and relegation, and that the money coming in from the Champions League would not be enough for the richest clubs in Europe.

Of course, we now know that there will be no promotion or relegation in the Super League for the 15 founding clubs.

Wenger’s comments in full

Wenger explained his thoughts (quotes via The Guardian): “I see more a European league developing over time rather than one team going out of the country.

“The national teams will survive but maybe in 10 years, you will have a European league.

“I’m not sure 100% that I’m right but I feel inside our game there are some voices behind the scenes coming up to do something about that, especially if the rules become too restrictive for these clubs.

“Personally, I believe only in sporting merit.

“So, if such a league is created, it has to be by transfers up and down, although that is practically very difficult to resolve and we do not want to kill the national leagues.

“Teams would have to play in both the European league in midweek and the national league at the weekend. It means all these teams have two teams.”

Wenger concluded with: “The way we are going financially is that even the money that will be coming in from the Champions League will not be enough for some clubs because they spend too much money.

“The income is basically owned by UEFA and they distribute the money to the clubs.”

Wenger speaks out on Super League proposals

This morning, the 67-year-old – who is now Chief of Global Football Development at FIFA – condemned the Super League proposals.

He told talkSPORT: “I would say that’s a bad idea.

“Football has to stay united. That is the most important thing and based on sporting merits and overall to respect the history of European football.

“I believe personally that this idea will not go far.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty