Image by Álvaro Millán
The Manchester United player Marcus Rashford is a footballing genius. He is also a formidable anti-poverty campaigner.
In many ways Rashford represents all that is glorious about the beautiful game. A local boy made good and he’s deeply committed to tackling injustice when he sees it.
He’s an example to all.
However, we learned this week that at the same time that Rashford was campaigning for free school meals, some of football's billionaire owners were plotting to create a breakaway football league. The proposed European Super League would have been a closed competition for making these billionaires even richer.
It’s yet another example of a small group of very powerful, and very wealthy, people profiting at the expense of everyone else.
Fans, politicians, and even Prince William were outraged. The new league looks unlikely to happen after the six English clubs backed away from the idea.
It probably isn't the last time we hear of plans for a super league in football. But for now at least we can take a message of hope that it is possible for popular outrage to make usually unaccountable billionaires back down.
Football has a long history of inequality and murkiness. The Tax Justice Network have investigated the offshore structures used to run the game. They found that owners can become entirely unaccountable. Questionable financial decisions have condemned century-old institutions like Rangers FC to liquidation.
The Super League was yet another example of the dangers of unequal wealth. Concentration of economic power is a bad idea. The Balanced Economy Project has been established to look into precisely this issue. As they say: "dominant firms are using raw economic and political muscle to squeeze the life out of our economies".
We need to stand up to this and demand a different way of running the economy for the benefit of all of us.
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