Premier League, project stillborn?
In the face of protests and threats from football authorities, the twelve dissident clubs founding this special competition for the Champions League experienced their first jolts on Tuesday, and some of their members considered withdrawing.
They thought they would persuade the football world by offering more high-stakes matches, and they aimed to generate massive income by securing a permanent ticket in an event nearly inaccessible to other teams on the continent … But the twelve “rebels”, led by Real Madrid, Liverpool or Juventus Turin are in suspicion so loud that they split from Sunday night to Monday.
Manchester City is also the first club to officially announce on Tuesday evening the start of withdrawal procedures from the project. Chelsea will be about to do the same, according to several British media outlets including the BBC on Tuesday evening. In Spain, other press information indicates the withdrawal from the Atlético de Madrid study.
Judicial victory of the rebels
So it appears that public protest from fans, authorities and even governments is beginning to bear fruit, while in the evening, several hundred English club fans loudly voiced their disapproval near Stamford Bridge in Chelsea, London.
Manchester City is in my blood, and my uncle played with City and everyone in my family is a City fan. Zach Bookbinder, 16, who came to pretend with friends, said, “But I don’t want to be part of this elite, I still prefer seeing us in League Two (D4).”
UEFA, which is defending its Champions League reform, fired live ammunition on these “snakes”, “guided only by greed” on Monday, in the words of UEFA President Alexander Ceferin.
He did not hesitate to threaten the twelve dissident acts of massive reprisals, such as excluding these clubs from all national and international competitions, even if they carried the European Nations Cup or the World Cup without the international players playing in these teams. But he also urged them to “change their minds” after a “fatal mistake.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino came to the aid of troubled European football, and repeated his opposition to this “closed club”. “Either you are inside or outside,” he said Tuesday morning at the UEFA conference in Montreux.
The Super League, led by Real Madrid coach Florentino Perez, seemed to anticipate the protest and the threats. It even won its first legal victory on Tuesday by obtaining from a commercial court in Madrid a decision that is likely to temporarily freeze any punishment that belongs to it.
A cry in Europe
In contrast, the response was nonetheless structured at all levels. In the United Kingdom, the birthplace of the king of sports in Europe, Prime Minister Boris Johnson asserted that “no action” by the government to stop the project “including the legislative option has been excluded.”
With a meeting scheduled for Friday for the UEFA Executive Committee, the issue of excluding “ rebellious ” clubs remained on the table, especially for the current edition of the UEFA Champions League, which includes the last four clubs involved (Manchester). City, Chelsea and Real Madrid).
Several personalities have also demonstrated their opposition to the project, likely to corrupt the hierarchical structure of the European Round ball and redistribute income. One of the most frank opinions came from Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola. For the Catalans, this new European Cup disables the very idea of competition. “It is not a sport if success is guaranteed or if loss is not important,” he said.