What you need to know:
- The European Super League was all about shoring up more revenue for the big clubs at the expense of all other stakeholders. It’s a good thing the doomed project fell flat on its face.
- Football belongs to the fans; the big clubs are only beneficiaries of the fans' love, passion and commitment to an unadulterated version of the game.
Many years ago, I attended two public day secondary schools. That was long before boarding schools were in vogue, yet notorious for suspected arson incidents just when national examinations are around the corner.
I spent my first two and a half years of high school in a basketball-crazy school in Nairobi's eastlands before transferring to a school in Nakuru where I was introduced to rugby.
It’s around the same time that I discovered and fell in love with Nakuru RFC, whose home ground was just a stone's throw away from our flat. But that's a story for another day.
During my final two years in school I found myself in a very competitive class. The academic aristocracy comprised about 10 extremely bright students.
I didn’t belong to that group. I was firmly stuck in the second rung of rank outsiders who occasionally upset the apple cart. But that’s as far as it went. We had an established academic stratification.
Our class of about 80 students was a blend of a few very smart kids, the above averages and, well, the slow learners. But our varying academic capabilities weren’t an impediment to the learning environment. It didn’t propagate any prejudices whatsoever in our day to day interactions as students.
Never at one time was there the remotest possibility of the 10 smart kids forming a 'breakaway classroom' on the pretext of ‘salvaging’ the school’s academic standards.
And even if they had considered it, I can bet our sagacious Principal, Mr Karanja (may his soul rest in peace), who we fondly nicknamed 'Dosi', would never have entertained such an idea.
On the contrary, the bright students in my class were always more than willing to share knowledge with the 'academically challenged' lot.
We had non-discriminatory study groups whose memberships were open to all and where the slow learners piggybacked the top performers.
I remember this extremely sharp fellow in our class, a straight A student, who was particularly 'generous' to a fault. Every morning, before classes began, he would spread out his exercise books for the lazybones to 'dub' his well-derived solutions to the previous evening's assignments.
Yes, I know his magnanimous actions amounted to nothing more than abetting cheating, but my point is he freely shared what he had.
So why am I indulging you with this classroom anecdote of yore? Well, because I strongly feel that the 12 big European clubs – including my beloved Real Madrid – erred gravely in their attempt to form a breakaway league early last week.
Forget about whatever Florentino Pérez said about ‘saving football’, my religion teaches me that salvation comes through inclusion, not exclusion.
It’s a tragedy that at a time when the world is grappling with strained economic resources, occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, the 12 breakaway clubs actually attempted to gorge themselves on football’s high table without a thought for the ‘lesser’ clubs.
Kenyans have a name for such gluttonous predispositions. They call it 'kula nyama wengine wakimeza mate' (feasting on juicy meat as bystanders salivate).
The European Super League was all about shoring up more revenue for the big clubs at the expense of all other stakeholders. It’s a good thing the doomed project fell flat on its face.
Football belongs to the fans; the big clubs are only beneficiaries of the fans' love, passion and commitment to an unadulterated version of the game.