Crazy rules, dynamics and more than 90,000 spectators in the stadium. Gerard Pique caused a stir with the inaugural Kings League season, and it should only be the beginning.
The legendary Camp Nou is packed, more than 90,000 spectators are cheering in the stands – but the stars of FC Barcelona are not chasing the ball on the sacred pitch. What’s happening there has very little to do with traditional football, and yet it generates enthusiasm. Former world champion Gerard Pique should have confirmed the first Final Four tournament of his Kings League. And the inventor of the bizarre competition still has big plans.
Seven against seven, 40 minutes instead of 90 and all sorts of curious jokers: a “circus”, as the Spanish league president Javier Tebas called the format shortly after it started in January. A few months later, thousands of fans followed this spectacular circus in a sold-out stadium, and the stream of the final tournament now has more than 15 million views on the Twitch platform.
“We don’t compete with basketball or football or any other sport, we are something completely different,” Pique told the Spanish sports newspaper “Marca”. Apparently. The club owners are Internet and football stars who sometimes have to intervene themselves. So the Aniquiladores executed the “President’s Penalty” in the first semi-final. Vice club boss Espe chased the ball to the crossbar, it bounced on the line, a goal? No. The VAR intervened.
But while the use of the video referee is discussed almost every weekend in the Bundesliga, the Kings League has long since found its own solution. The VAR only intervenes at the request of the teams, the decisions of the referees are explained over the microphone, as many critics have demanded in the conventional variant of the sport.
Pique aims to expand the Kings League
The VAR is one of “the most recurring themes in professional football,” said Pique. His league is “open, we have cameras, microphones”, they want “the spectators to see everything that happens on the field”.
The competition, which Pique launched at the beginning of the year shortly after the end of his career, “reflects what I would like to consume,” explained the former star player of FC Barcelona: “A mixture of sport and entertainment. And people like it the.”
And that’s exactly why the former central defender still has a lot to do after the first final tournament, in which “El Barrio” was crowned champion. “There is a long-term plan,” reported Pique. His vision: An expansion to several countries in the coming years, at the end of the season the best should then compete against each other. “A competition understood as the Champions League for those of us who like traditional football.”
He seems to have already found a prominent face for his expansion: Neymar. According to Pique, the Brazilian superstar should have his own team in the “Kings League Brazil”. However, the second half of the Spanish version will start in May, and the Queens League will also start playing. The circus continues.