The Super League Announced; Barcelona, Manchester United Among Founding Clubs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

Barcelona and Manchester United players greet each others end of the Champions League quarterfinal, second leg, soccer match between FC Barcelona and Manchester United at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
Joan Monfort/Associated Press

The Super League issued a press release Sunday to lay out its plans for a new breakaway European competition consisting of major clubs from across the continent.

Twelve clubs were included in the initial announcement:

  • AC Milan
  • Arsenal
  • Atletico Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • Chelsea
  • Inter Milan
  • Juventus
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester City
  • Manchester United
  • Real Madrid
  • Tottenham Hotspur

The Super League also named real Real Madrid president Florentino Perez as its first-ever chairman.

talkSPORT @talkSPORT

European Super League announced 🚨 Here’s the full official statement released: https://t.co/zUKIyQZOuz

Swiss Ramble alluded to how the COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated the formation of the league:

Swiss Ramble @SwissRamble

Here's a clue as to why 12 clubs have signed up for a European Super League: They lost a combined £1.2 billion in 2019/20 before player sales* And that was for a season where only the last 3 months were impacted by COVID... *Liverpool have not yet published their accounts https://t.co/7o1ubiDX6z

Under the Super League's plan, 20 teams would be placed into two groups and stage midweek fixtures, thus allowing the participants to continue competing in their domestic leagues.

However, the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga all partnered with UEFA to issue a statement outlining their opposition to the Super League, calling it a "cynical project ... founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever."

"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening," the statement read. "Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way."

FIFA also weighed in to say it "can only express its disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles."

Raphael Honigstein💙 @honigstein

FIFA statement: https://t.co/wHBZranezY

The feeling of cynicism is likely shared by supporters who have watched this situation play out before, often to the benefit of the clubs at the top of the pyramid.

Alex Kay-Jelski @AlexKayJelski

- Put out a story to put pressure on UEFA - Get everyone in a massive, angry flap - Take the insults because there’s huge money at stake - Come to a new CL agreement and put the super league back in the cupboard again till leverage is needed next time. - Repeat #SuperLeague

Manchester United legend Gary Neville offered a scathing critique of the Super League that almost immediately went viral:

Sky Sports Premier League @SkySportsPL

😡 | "I'm a #MUFC fan and I'm absolutely disgusted." 💥 | "They are an absolute joke." @GNev2 gives a brutally honest reaction to reports that England's biggest clubs are expected to be part of plans for a breakaway European Super League. https://t.co/VfJccHgybc

Some will argue UEFA and domestic football associations should call the Super League's bluff.

In its statement, UEFA reiterated that Super League club players would be banned from international competitions. Playing for Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City or Real Madrid may not be as appealing if it means being unable to participate in the Euros or World Cup.

In general, building a new league that caters to a select group of handpicked teams could backfire. Supporters from other clubs could tune out entirely as feelings that have been building for years are exacerbated.

And competing in the Super League sounds great in theory unless a club finds itself consistently finishing at the bottom of the table. That sounds far less attractive than at least qualifying for the round of 16 in the Champions League.

This is merely the opening salvo from the Super League, with plenty more posturing to play out in public from both sides.


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