(Image: David Klein/ PA Images)

This week, to just about everyone’s surprise, 12 of the world’s powerful billionaires were told: “No”. Even more surprising, the nay-sayer was the notorious world soccer body, FIFA, with the support of Britain’s conservative government.

The sudden collapse of the proposed European Super League was great news for both the football community and for supporters of people power. But the rich are different: they don’t lightly take no for an answer. 

The furore over the proposed billionaire-controlled league touched two of the big fault lines in modern sport. One, social: the conflict between the sport’s community -- fans, amateur players and the network of local clubs -- and the billionaires who own the big teams; the other, institutional: the growing power of professional clubs at the expense of the leagues that, ostensibly, control them.