The new European Super League taking the soccer world by storm is treating the women's game as an afterthought

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Meredith Cash
·4 min read
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vivianne miedema
Without any clear plan for its women's teams and athletes, the European Super League made an empty promise to "advance and develop the women's game." Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
  • News of a new European Super League has rocked the soccer world.

  • The new league will take 12 elite clubs from their longstanding domestic leagues.

  • The announcement of the new framework hardly accounted for the clubs' existing women's teams.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A dozen of the largest and most influential soccer clubs on the planet have joined forces to form the European Super League - a new competitive infrastructure that promises to tear apart the framework of European soccer as we've long known it.

But where the women's game factors into these grand plans is anybody's guess.

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Manchester City's Lucy Bronze shields the ball from Chelsea's Sam Kerr. Joe Prior/Visionhaus

Each of the 12 clubs - Premier League's Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur; Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid of Spain's La Liga; and Italian Serie A's AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus - released a joint statement outlining ambitions for the new league on their respective websites.

And despite the fact that all 12 of those franchises feature women's teams of their own, Sunday's European Super League release hardly acknowledged the existence of women's soccer. The clubs simply cast away their women's teams as afterthoughts and essentially left players with an "IOU" in lieu of fleshing out plans for a women's wing of the new competition.

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Barcelona's Jennifer Hermoso. Eric Alonso/Getty Images

"As soon as practicable after the start of the men's competition, a corresponding women's league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women's game," the statement said.

And that's it. That's all the release had to say on the matter of women's soccer.

Shortly after the statement from the European Super League on Sunday, UEFA and other soccer governing bodies - as well as the English, Spanish, and Italian domestic leagues - released a joint statement to condemn the plans. The backlash extended as far as threats to ban participating players from the FIFA World Cup and other international competitions with their national teams.

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Juventus' Sara Gama. Ritzau Skanpix/Anders Kjaerbye via REUTERS

Between the European Super League utterly failing to account for the women's game and the current powers of the soccer universe waging war on member institutions, the women's teams and players involved have been given absolutely no insurance policy.

If the European Super League fails to implement a timely framework for competition on the women's side and athletes are barred from national team appearances and competition in their current domestic leagues, some of the top women's players on the planet may be left without a place to play altogether.

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Sam Kerr celebrates a hat trick for the Matildas - Australia's national team - with her signature back flip. REUTERS/Mike Blake

No more Sam Kerr backflips after hat tricks. No more clinical Vivianne Miedema finishes. No more Lucy Bronze defensive masterclasses, Jennifer Hermoso screamers, or Ellie Roebuck high-flying saves.

And American stars aren't immune to the repercussions, either. Five US Women's National Team players - Sam Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Abby Dahlkemper, Tobin Heath, and Christen Press - could also find themselves caught in the crossfire between the European Super League and the traditional powers of the soccer world.

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USWNT stars Christen Press (left) and Tobin Heath play for Manchester United. Michael Regan/Getty Images

The European Super League devoted just 27 of 761 words in its release to addressing plans - or lack thereof - for the women's game, but that was enough to threaten the future of women's soccer for many of the most elite athletes and teams on the planet.

It's certainly a questionable approach to "helping to advance and develop the women's game," as the release promised, but surely we'll know whether or not it's effective "as soon as practicable after the start of the men's competition."

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