Top football club launches European super league in criticism

Manchester, England — Twelve of Europe’s top football clubs launched a secession super league on Sunday, launching a fierce battle to control the game and increase its profitability.

The move has set a rival for UEFA’s established Champions League tournament and has been criticized by football authorities and political leaders.

Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus are among the key members of the new league, but UEFA has vowed to fight the move, threatening to ban them from national and international competition.

Both French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have issued statements condemning the withdrawal and supporting UEFA’s position.

Anfield Liverpool Logo Overview
Overview of the Liverpool logo in Anfield, Liverpool, UK, March 13, 2020. (Action image via Jason Keandaf / Reuters)

Not only United, but also Premier League Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have signed up for the plan.

Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain join Real. AC Milan and Inter Milan, along with Juventus, make up a trio from Italy.

The Super League is aiming for a league of 15 founding members and 20 teams, and said the other five clubs are aiming to qualify each season.

The club will spend € 3.5 billion ($ 4.19 billion) on infrastructure projects and share funding to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The money cannot be used by the player.

The league has said it will “jointly pay” other European football “expected to exceed € 10 billion” over the 23-year commitment period signed by the club, beyond what UEFA currently offers. .. ..

“We support football at all levels and bring it to the right place in the world. Soccer is the only global sport in the world with over 4 billion fans and we as a big club. Is responsible for meeting their needs, “said Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, the first president of the Super League.

German and French clubs are not yet associated with withdrawal.

FIFA, the governing body of World Soccer, has stated that it has “disapproved of the’closed European withdrawal league’outside the international football organization.”

However, notably, there was no mention of a previous threat from FIFA to ban players participating in the withdrawal from the World Cup.

The announcement came hours before UEFA will approve its own plans for the expanded and reorganized 36-Team Champions League on Monday.

UEFA has issued a strong statement in collaboration with English, Spanish and Italian leagues and football federations, ready to use “by all means” to tackle withdrawal, with participating clubs from national leagues such as the Premier League. He said it would be banned.

“Relevant clubs may be banned from playing in other tournaments at national, European or world level and their players may be denied the opportunity to represent their national team,” UEFA said. Told.

“Thanks to clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs who refused to sign up for this. If such a project is announced to all football lovers, supporters and politicians Calls for participation in the fight against the project. This few permanent self-interests have been going on for too long.

Absolute shame

The move was blamed by football officials across Europe and former players such as former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, who said the club’s owners were motivated by “pure greed.”

“We are one of the 12 founding clubs of the European Super League,” Arsenal Supporters Trust wrote on Twitter in response to Arsenal’s official tweet: “Death of Arsenal as a sports institution”.

France’s top club Paris Saint-Germain has not been reported to have signed up for the plan, and President Macron has voiced opposition to the withdrawal.

“The President of the Republic welcomes the position of the French club, which refuses to participate in the European Football Super League project, which threatens the principles of solidarity and the benefits of sports,” the President of France said in a statement sent to Reuters. ..

“The French provinces support all the steps taken by LFP, FFF, UEFA and FIFA to protect the integrity of federal conventions, national or European,” Elysee said. Added by quoting the world’s football governing bodies.

British Prime Minister Johnson also opposed the move.

“Europe’s Super League plans will be very damaging to football and we will help football authorities take action,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

“They will attack the center of the game in the country and involve fans across the country. The clubs involved need to respond to the fans and the broad football community before taking further action.”

After years of reports of withdrawal, they returned in January and reported that several media had prepared a document outlining the plan.

In October, Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu said the club had accepted the offer to join the withdrawal league.

With these reports, FIFA and UEFA have warned that players involved in the withdrawal will be banned from participating in the World Cup and European Championships.

UEFA has proposed a major change to the Champions League, which has been supported by many clubs and organizations.

This change will increase competition from 32 teams to 36 and overhaul the group stage to one table instead of the current four club groups.

The team will play 10 games each on the group stage instead of the 6 games they are currently playing, and the playoff round will also be introduced before the last 16 games.

But while there was widespread consensus and those reforms, big clubs delayed making changes to the governance and management of competition before the dramatic move on Sunday.

($ 1 = 0.8356 euros)

Simon Evans