the essentials The Super League, a stillborn project in 48 hours? Manchester City have already announced their withdrawal from the project of this rival Champions League private competition amid threats from the football authorities and outcry from the government and supporters.
Thought they would win over the football world by offering more high-stakes games, they aimed for a colossal income by securing a permanent ticket to an event almost inaccessible to other teams on the continent … But the twelve “mutineers”, led by Real Madrid, Liverpool or Juventus Turin, began to separate so thunderously that they broke up during the night from Sunday to Monday.
Manchester City were the first to give in, announcing in a statement that they have “officially initiated the process of withdrawing from the group responsible for developing the European Super League project”. A change that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin immediately welcomed. “I am very pleased to welcome City’s return to the European football family,” said he, welcoming the “great intelligence” and “courage” of this defect.
Several British media had previously reported that Chelsea were also on the verge of withdrawing. In Spain, other press reports mentioned the withdrawal from the Atlético Madrid study and a video conference meeting of the rebel clubs.
Judicial victory for the mutineers
If City gives in, it may be due to general outcry from supporters, players, authorities and even governments. “The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City – if confirmed – is absolutely the right one and I applaud it,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter shortly before the Manchester City Declaration. Other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow this initiative, “added Boris Johnson, who had promised to use all means against the Super League,” including the legislative option “.
The decision by Chelsea and Manchester City – if confirmed – is absolutely the right one and I recommend them for it.
I hope that the other clubs involved in the European Super League will follow their lead.
– Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) April 20, 2021
In the evening, several hundred English club fans loudly expressed their disapproval near the Stamford Bridge stadium in Chelsea, London. “Manchester City is in my blood, my uncle played for City and everyone in my family is a City fan. But I don’t want us to be part of this elite, I would still prefer to play in the second division ( D4) to see. ” “said 16-year-old Zac Bookbinder, who protested with friends.
A “big mistake” according to UEFA
UEFA, for its part, defending its own reform of the Champions League, a traditional competition for clubs from the old continent since 1955, fired live ammunition at these “snakes” on Monday, “guided only by greed,” as UEFA said -President Aleksander Ceferin.
He did not hesitate to threaten the twelve dissidents with monumental reprisals, such as the exclusion of these clubs from all national and international competitions, even with a euro or a world championship, without the international players playing in these teams. But he also urged them to “change their minds” after “making a big mistake”.
Fifa President Gianni Infantino had also come to the aid of an angry European football and reiterated his opposition to this “closed club”. “Either you are inside or outside,” he said on Tuesday morning at the UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
The Super League, led by Real Madrid boss Florentino Pérez, seemed to have anticipated this outcry and threats. She even scored a first legal victory on Tuesday after receiving a ruling from a commercial court in Madrid that could temporarily freeze any sanction that affects her.
Outcry in Europe
In contrast, the response was nonetheless organized at all levels. The players from Liverpool, another rebel club, have shown their hostility to the project by making a joint statement against their employer. At a meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee scheduled for Friday, the question of the exclusion of “mutinous” clubs remained on the table, especially for the current edition of the Champions League, the bottom of which includes three affected clubs. (Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid).
Many footballers have also spoken out against the project, which should dynamize the pyramid structure of the European round ball and the redistribution of income. One of the loudest opinions came from Pep Guardiola, the star coach of Manchester City, one of the dissident clubs. For the Catalan, this new European Cup disrupts the idea of competition. “It’s not a sport when success is guaranteed or when losing doesn’t matter,” said Guardiola, while Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp was reserved on Monday.
These statements sum up the deep fault line of the 12 rebel clubs, which consist of six British, three Spaniards, three Italians … but no German or French. The twelve “mutineers” have announced that they will be building an almost closed league that is comparable to the championships of American basketball (NBA) or American football (NFL).
The organizers argued that the new competition was condemned to “generate additional resources for the entire football pyramid”. With the key “an immediate payment in the order of 3.5 billion euros” for the 15 founding clubs. For comparison: Before the pandemic, UEFA generated revenue of 3.2 billion euros for its club competitions in 2018-2019, which was distributed among the more than 80 clubs participating in the Champions League and Europa League.