Can someone call up Ted Lasso? We need an explainer.

By Nick Romano
April 20, 2021 at 11:57 AM EDT
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James Corden took time out of Monday's The Late Late Show to unpack a subject that has thrown the sporting world of Europe into disarray: the European Soccer League.

People like U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince William have come out to address the controversy, and companies like Amazon and Facebook are saying they're not involved with it at this time. Yet, Corden acknowledged his U.S. audience probably knows nothing about it.

Twelve clubs across Europe's soccer leagues from England, Spain, and Italy announced plans to break away and form their own largely closed-off competition called the European Soccer League instead of participating in the existing Champions League run by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).

Corden called the Super League "disgusting" because "the owners of these teams have displayed the worst kind of greed I've ever seen in sports."

While the idea of a Super League where the best teams of the season compete against each other may sound amazing, Corden says it already exists. It's the Champions League.

"If any team in Europe has a brilliant season — whoever that team is, however small, however big — they get into that competition," he explained. "So, if a major team has a bad season, they don't get into the competition, and that's the point. It's a competition."

The Super League, he argued, would "make it a private club where all these self-chosen teams will really consistently be the ones that are in it."

Another reason why this Super League is causing quite the backlash is because, Corden continued, it has "changed a game that millions and millions of people across the world have grown up loving and adoring."

He notes that some of the European soccer teams are hundreds of years old, started by "working-class people" and built "for the communities they play in." "It's not a franchise," Corden said.

"The truth is that this whole thing, making this move, these teams, these owners, they will kill hundreds of other football teams that compete with [those joining the Super League] and have competed with them many times over the years, disregarding the fan bases of those teams and disregarding the fan bases of their own teams who are devastated, too," he added.

After a report came out stating that organizers of the Super League have been in early discussions with companies such as Facebook, Amazon, Sky, and Disney to strike deals for broadcasting rights to their games, some of these companies have come out to distance themselves from the situation.

The U.K.'s BT Sports was the first broadcaster to condemn the Super League, telling Deadline in a statement, "BT recognizes the concerns raised by many of football's leading voices and fans, and believes the formation of a European Super League could have a damaging effect to the long term health of football in this country."

According to Reuters, Sky and Facebook both stated they're not involved with discussions, and Amazon followed suit on Tuesday.

"Amazon Prime Video understands and shares the concerns raised by football fans regarding a breakaway Super League," the company said in a statement. "We believe part of the drama and beauty of European football comes from the ability of any club to achieve success through their performances on the pitch."

The statement continued, "We have not been involved in any discussions for this proposed Super League. We are proud to offer our Prime members the football which matters most to them and to present the action in the most innovative ways, including UEFA Champions League football in Germany and Italy and Premier League football in the U.K."

While Corden joked in the beginning of his segment how silly it might seem to get riled up about this, he seemed close to tears as he spoke about the situation.

"It's hard to express how much these communities rely on football, not just financially, which is considerable, but football is like a focal point of a town's hopes and dreams. That's what it is, you know?" he said. "And these dreams, they've just been shattered not just in Britain, all across Europe. And the reason these dreams have been shattered and discarded is so that a group of billionaires can buy themselves a bigger boat, or a second boat."

Watch Corden's emphatic take on the proposed soccer league above.

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THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN

The Late Late Show With James Corden

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