James Corden did not hold back on Monday’s “Late Late Show” regarding the proposed European “Super League” that would let some of the top clubs in Europe form their own competition.
Fighting back tears, Corden, a West Ham United fan, accused the owners of the 12 clubs of ruining the sport and irreparably harming the game.
“It’s the end of the sport we love. It truly is. I think it’s going to happen and I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it,” Corden said in the video above. “I’m heartbroken because the owners of these teams have displayed the worst kind of greed I’ve ever seen in sport.”
On Sunday night, 12 of the most famous soccer clubs in Europe — including Arsenal, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United — announced their intention of forming a “breakaway league” that would ostensibly replace the UEFA Champions League, which has long been considered the top club competition in the world. These 12 teams are made up of English, Spanish and French clubs, with the hope that German clubs like Bayern Munich would join. The Super League plans to eventually have 20 clubs in competition each year.
Corden argued that the Champions League is already a tournament that features the top European clubs, and is one that’s solely based on merit.
“If a major team, a massive team, has a bad season, they don’t get into the competition. And that’s the point — because it’s a competition,” Corden said. “They’re going to make it sort of a private club where only these self-chosen teams will really consistently be the ones that are into it.”
The Sunday announcement was met with immediate and intense backlash from pretty much every corner, including from fans and even some of the players on the very teams that are forming the new league. FIFA and the UEFA both harshly condemned the plan and vowed to fight it, and even threatened the clubs with expulsion from their domestic leagues as well as bans on any players from competing in international tournaments like the World Cup.
Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron have come out against the idea. Amazon, which holds Champions League streaming rights in various countries, said Tuesday morning that it “understands and shares” the concerns about the proposed league and said it had no involvement in any talks with those clubs.
Corden admitted before his rant that most of his U.S.-based audience likely doesn’t care or may just be outright confused by the situation. So he used an Oscars-based analogy, explaining that it’s like if A-list actresses Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Saoirse Ronan and Viola Davis broke away from the Oscars and formed their own awards show, ensuring they’d always get nominated for the Best Actress award every year, regardless of their performance.
“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?” Corden continued. “These dreams, they’ve been shattered not just in Britain, but 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.”
Corden seemed resigned to the fact that not only will the Super League probably come to fruition, but it will likely be a huge success (who wouldn’t want to see Manchester United play Real Madrid twice a year?). But he hopes that soccer fans, many of whom are very much against this idea, will not forget the owners’ greed.
“Don’t ever forget that it was them, those owners, who took something so pure and so beautiful, and they beat the love and the joy out of it and they did it for money. They just did it for money, and it’s disgusting.”