The Super League is deflating … already

Forty-eight hours and then goes: after threatening Monday to upset the established order of European football, the promoters of the Super League can only note the failure of their project.

Forty-eight hours and then goes: after threatening Monday to upset the established order of European football, the promoters of the Super League can only note the failure of their project.

(AFP) – Manchester City got the ball rolling, five other English clubs followed overnight. There is no longer any question for these prestigious football teams to participate in the Super League project. Direct red card for the competition which wanted to supplant the Champions League, the historic European competition since 1955.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2019 Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) raises the trophy after winning the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid. - Twelve of Europe's most powerful clubs announced the launch of a breakaway European Super League on April 19, 2021 in a potentially seismic shift in the way football is run, but faced accusations of greed and cynicism. Six Premier League teams, Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham are involved, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan. Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez, who was announced as the first ESL president, said the breakaway reflected the big clubs' wishes. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / AFP)

The American holding company announced on Monday that it would finance the “Super League” project carried by a handful of the richest European football clubs.

Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United and Chelsea have backed down. Under pressure from supporters, the press, even political authorities. “We made a mistake and we apologize for it,” Arsenal wrote in a statement, summing up in one sentence what everyone in football has been struggling to point out for the past two days.

These clubs thought they would convince the football world by offering more high-stakes matches, and were aiming for colossal revenues by securing a permanent ticket in an event almost inaccessible to other European teams, with 15 of the 20 members automatically qualified. But the rebels suffered a general outcry, which ended up bearing fruit, at least in England.

The victory of popular football

The creators of the Super League have reacted to this ‘Brexit’ of the English clubs by announcing that they will ‘reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project’, which amounts to a suspension of the project. While waiting to know what will happen to this very poorly engaged Super League, this incredible episode now places European football in the face of the immense dissensions that animate it, between rich clubs eager for profits and necessary maintenance of a form of equity and sporting uncertainty.

Will dissidents be punished for considering such a revolution? The reform of the Champions League by 2024, adopted on Monday, will it be maintained when it did not seem to satisfy them enough, while being criticized by some supporters as being difficult to read? So many questions that the European Football Union (UEFA) will have to take up, although it has given way in recent years against the biggest players.

In any case, it looks like a victory for popular football against the big bosses and shareholders, symbolized for example by the few hundred fans of English clubs who expressed their disapproval on Tuesday evening near the Stamford Bridge stadium in Chelsea, in London, in failure to do so in the forums due to the pandemic.

It is also a success, more relative, for the authorities of football, whose threats of reprisals ended up dissuading certain rebel clubs, these “serpents”, “guided only by greed”, in the words of the president of the ‘UEFA Aleksander Ceferin. He did not hesitate to brandish the exclusion of these clubs, and their players, from all national and international competitions, a threat then taken up by Gianni Infantino, the boss of the International Federation (Fifa).

In the footsteps of Guardiola

The Super League, led by Real Madrid boss Florentino Pérez, seemed to have anticipated these threats. She even won, Tuesday, a first legal victory by obtaining from a commercial court in Madrid a decision likely to temporarily freeze any sanction concerning her. But opposite, the mistrust was too general, like the press releases from major broadcasters indicating that they would refuse to support the project via lucrative television rights contracts.

The players of Liverpool, a rebellious club, have issued a joint statement to affirm their rejection. This opinion joined that of Pep Guardiola, star coach of Manchester City, another dissident club. For the Catalan, “it is not sport if success is guaranteed or if losing does not matter.”


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