UEFA Exec Expects Super League Clubs to Be Removed from Champions League

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2021

A selection of scarves of the English soccer Premier League teams who are reported to be part of a proposed European Super League, laid out and photographed, in London, Monday, April 19, 2021.  The 12 European clubs planning to start a breakaway Super League have told the leaders of FIFA and UEFA that they have begun legal action aimed at fending off threats to block the competition. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

UEFA will take swift action against Europe's largest soccer clubs after they announced the formation of the Super League, according to Jesper Moller, a member of UEFA's executive committee and the chairman of the Danish Football Union. Moller expects the three Super League teams that remain in this year's Champions League will be booted from the tournament.

"[Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea] are going out, and I expect that to happen on Friday," he told DR Sport on Monday (h/t Mike Goodman of CBS Sports). "And then you have to see how to finish the Champions League."

No formal decisions have been made regarding the status of current Champions League or Europa League participants (Arsenal and Manchester United) among the Super League clubs, according to reports:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

UEFA decision about UCL and UEL semi-finals will be made in the next days after meeting with legal team. 🚨 They’ll decide whether to exclude City, Chelsea, Real, Man Utd, Arsenal. Ceferin wants to “ban them as soon as possible”. It’s NOT decided - depends by the legal team.

Chris Williams @Chris78Williams

NEW: A further UEFA mtg will now take place within the next 24 hours. There will be a motion to formally expel Arsenal and Manchester United from the #UEL  and Man City, Chelsea and Real Madrid from the #UCL  - meeting will also decide how the competitions will be completed. https://t.co/TBe5lgXR6y

But the backlash has been immense with detractors concerned the formation of a Super League would damage European football on a number of fronts.

The Super League has 12 founder clubs (Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Internazionale and AC Milan) with plans to add three more. They would take part in a yearly, 20-team competition that would always include the 15 founder clubs and rotate in five additional teams.

Those clubs will argue the formation of such a league will allow them a guaranteed cash flow that will make it easier to balance the enormous payrolls they are expected to maintain on a yearly basis to remain among Europe's elite. The Champions League offers a strong financial windfall for teams that qualify, but the Premier League, for instance, only gets four guaranteed spots.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

Not sure these clubs realize American sports leagues also employ salary caps (with luxury taxes) and amateur drafts, but the owners of Europe's biggest soccer clubs clearly want what they see in the NFL and the NBA: *No threat of relegation *Cost certainty *Maximum TV profits

They hope to eliminate the possibility of missing out on that payday by guaranteeing themselves an elite tournament each season, one that would essentially replace Champions League football. However, there is reportedly a push to remove Super League teams from their domestic leagues as well, while UEFA will attempt to banish Super League players from international competitions like the European Championship and the World Cup.

The counterargument to forming such a league is that it essentially takes yearly merit out of the picture for top club competitions. It could also increase the gap between the financial haves and have-nots of the sport.

A long-term fear is that those clubs may separate from their domestic leagues entirely, setting up a more American-style league without relegation that further prevents smaller clubs from competing with the heavyweight clubs. It would also erase years of history and tradition domestically.

Even Liverpool's manager, Jurgen Klopp, seems opposed to the idea.

"I've the same opinion about Super League. It's a tough one, people aren't happy and I'm not involved. LFC is more than some decisions," he said Monday (h/t Fabrizio Romano). "My aim has always been to be part of the Champions League. I like the idea that West Ham can play in the UCL."

He added: "Remember: The most important parts of the club are the supporters and the team. And we should make sure nothing gets in the way of that."

That's the romantic view. The more cynical (and arguably realistic) one is that the most important part of a club is its bottom line, at least to the people who run it.


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