European Super League

The Super League
The Super League Logo.svg
Founded18 April 2021 (2021-04-18)
RegionEurope
Number of teams20 (planned)
Motto"The best clubs.
The best players.
Every week."[1]
Websitethesuperleague.com

The Super League, organised by the European Super League Company, S.L. and commonly referred to as the European Super League (ESL), was a proposed annual club football competition to be contested by twenty European football clubs. This league was conceived to comprise fifteen "founding clubs"  – permanent participants in the competition and governing partners  – alongside five other European football clubs who could qualify based upon their performance in their domestic league's most recent season. It was planned as a breakaway competition to rival or replace the UEFA Champions League, Europe's premier club football tournament organised by UEFA.

Proposals for a European Super League in association football were attempted since 1998 but were unsuccessful. In April 2021, the European Super League was established by twelve clubs (six in England, three in Spain and three in Italy), with three more founding members anticipated to join. Florentino Pérez was appointed as the first chairman of the organisation. Plans for designating the competition's first tournament began underway in hopes of commencing "as soon as practicable".[2]

The announcement of the European Super League received almost universal opposition from fans, players, managers, politicians, other clubs as well as FIFA, UEFA and national governments.[3] Much of the criticism against the ESL focused on elitism and lack of competitiveness.[4][5] Backlash against the announcement of the league's formation led to nine of the clubs involved, including all six of the English clubs, announcing their intention to withdraw.[6] The remaining members of the ESL subsequently announced they would "reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project" following the departure of the other clubs,[7] before announcing three days later that it was suspending its operations.[8]

Background

Concept

Map of 12 founding clubs

Proposals for the creation of a new super league competition for European clubs began in 1998, with a concept devised by an Italian corporation, Media Partners. The plan ultimately never progressed pass the planning stage after UEFA moved to expand the Champions League,[9] with various other proposals being brought forward and failing to achieve popular approval – amongst these included a long-standing ambition by the Premier League to host an overseas "39th game" to capitalise on lucrative overseas markets.[10][11] In 2009, Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid, commenced plans for a super league competition, as he thought the UEFA Champions League was obsolete and problematic for the sport, and was an obstacle from letting clubs grow their businesses and develop infrastructure.[12]

In 2018, Pérez began discussions with other clubs in Europe, mostly clubs from within Spain, England and Italy, about the formation of a breakaway competition that would provide strong financial potential for those involved.[13] Those who partook in discussions, conducted in secret, were mainly focused on the exploration of options for the league, unless UEFA produced new reforms for the Champions League that would be acceptable to clubs.[14] The need for a new competition increased in 2020, as big-name football clubs began to suffer financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially with ongoing debts; Pérez's Real Madrid was amongst those hardest hit financially by the pandemic in Spain, which led to him advancing the concept into realisation.[15] The new competition eventually drew interest from American investment banking giant JPMorgan Chase, which pledged $5 billion towards its formation.[16]

On 18 April 2021, on the eve of a meeting by the UEFA Executive Committee – which was intending revamp and expand the UEFA Champions League from the 2024–25 season in order to increase the number of matches and revenues, following pressure from elite European clubs[17] – Pérez announced the formation of The Super League (also referred to as the "European Super League", ESL)[18] via a press release by the twelve clubs who had signed up to be involved: English Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur; Italian clubs Inter Milan, Juventus and Milan; and Spanish clubs Atlético Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Within the release, Pérez expressed hope that the new competition would "provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid", provide "significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues",[2] appeal to a new younger generation of football fans, and improve VAR and refereeing.[19][20] At the time of the announcement, 10 of the founding clubs were in the top 14 of the UEFA club coefficient rankings, with only Italian clubs Inter Milan (26th) and Milan (53rd) falling outside.[21] All 12 were in the top 16 on the 2021 Forbes' list of the most valuable football clubs.[22][23] Their combined value was US$34.4 billion.[22]

Leadership

The launch of the ESL included announcement of the leadership of the organisation. The following table below shows each football executive who became involved in the competition's operations, and their role they held within the sport:[2][24]

Position Name Nationality Other positions
Chairman Florentino Pérez  Spain President of Real Madrid
Vice-chairman Andrea Agnelli  Italy Chairman of Juventus
Vice-chairman Joel Glazer  United States Co-chairman of Manchester United
Vice-chairman John W. Henry  United States Owner of Liverpool
Vice-chairman Stan Kroenke  United States Owner of Arsenal

According to reports, Gavin Patterson, former BT Sport boss, was tapped for the CEO role.[25]

Format

The proposed competition was designed to feature twenty clubs who would partake in matches against each other  – fifteen of these would be permanent members, dubbed "founding clubs" who would govern the competition's operation, while five other places would be given to clubs through a qualifying mechanism focused on the teams who performed best in their country's most recent domestic season. Each year, the competition would see the teams split into two groups of ten, playing home-and-away in a double round-robin format for a total of 18 group matches per team, with fixtures set to take place midweek to avoid disrupting the clubs' involvement in their domestic leagues. At the end of these group matches, the top three of each group would then qualify for the quarter-finals, while the teams finishing fourth and fifth from each group will compete in two-legged play-offs to decide the last two quarter-finalists. The remainder of the competition would take place in a four-week span at the end of the season, with the quarter-finals and semi-finals featuring two-legged ties, while the final would be contested as a single fixture at a neutral venue.[2] In total, each season of the competition would feature 197 matches (180 in the group stage and 17 in the knockout stage).

Prize money

Broadcast earnings per club across Europe's top 5 leagues.

Participating clubs would have access to uncapped solidarity payments, which would increase in line with league revenues, and be higher than those of existing European competitions – the official press release stated that this would be "in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs", with founding clubs receiving €3.5 billion to support infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.[2] In addition, the founding clubs would share 32.5 percent of commercial revenues, with a further 32.5 percent being distributed between all 20 participating teams, including the five invited teams. 20 percent of revenues would be allocated based on "merit" based on performance in the Super League, and 15 percent would be shared based on broadcast audience size. Clubs would also be allowed to retain all revenues from gate receipts and club sponsorship deals.[26] The ESL would ultimately generate income across football, increasing overall revenues that would allow bigger clubs to invest more in smaller clubs through transfer fees, essentially allowing excluded clubs from the competition to act as feeder teams for Super League clubs, with an annual "solidarity" payment of 400,000,000 to the other clubs "to save football, by the great and the modest."[20][27]

Der Spiegel, which allegedly gained access to the 167-page European Super League contract, revealed Barcelona and Real Madrid were set to receive €60 million extra than other clubs over the first two years; whereas A.C. Milan, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and Atlético Madrid were set to make less than other Super League clubs.[28]

Reception

Football governing bodies

Reaction to the formation of the ESL led to widespread condemnation from UEFA, the Football Association and Premier League of England, the Italian Football Federation and Lega Serie A of Italy, and the Royal Spanish Football Federation and La Liga of Spain. All governing bodies issued a joint statement declaring their intention to prevent the new competition proceeding any further, with UEFA warning that any clubs involved in the Super League would be banned from all other domestic, European and world football competitions.[29] and that players from the clubs involved would also be banned from representing their national teams in international matches,[29][30] In addition, the French Football Federation and Ligue de Football Professionnel of France, as well as the German Football Association and Deutsche Fußball Liga of Germany, released similar statement opposing the proposal.[31][32] UEFA began immediately looking into making further reforms to the Champions league, €6 billion, in an effort to prevent the proposal moving forward.[33]

The European Club Association (ECA), held an emergency meeting and subsequently announced their opposition to the plan,[34] which forced Andrea Agnelli to resign as its chairman, alongside resigning from his role as a UEFA Executive Committee member, with all twelve clubs leaving the ECA.[29][35][36] FIFA later expressed its disapproval in the wake of the negative outcry to the ESL proposal, alongside International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach,[37][38] with FIFA president Gianni Infantino stating during an address at the 2021 UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland, both in response to the proposal and the clubs' efforts to remain in their domestic leagues:[39]

"If some elect to go their own way then they must live with the consequences of their choice, they are responsible for their choice... Concretely this means, either you are in, or you are out. You cannot be half in and half out. This has to be absolutely clear."

Politicians and governments

Numerous politicians expressed their opposition to the proposals across Europe, the most prominent coming from the British government, with the objections to the ESL uniting political parties completely behind its prevention. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the proposals "very damaging for football" and vowed to ensure that it "doesn't go ahead in the way that it's currently being proposed",[40] a position which was supported by Leader of the Opposition Keir Starmer.[41] In addition, the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement to the House of Commons that "[T]his move goes against the very spirit of the game", pledged to do "whatever it takes" to stop English clubs from joining,[42] and announced a "fan-led review" into football, to be led by former Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch.[43]

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his support for UEFA's position, stating "The French state will support all the steps taken by the LFP, FFF, UEFA and FIFA to protect the integrity of federal competitions, whether national or European."[44] The Spanish Government released a statement saying they "[do] not support the initiative to create a football Super League promoted by various European clubs, including the Spanish ones."[45] Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also backed UEFA in their decision, saying he "strongly supports the positions of the Italian and European football authorities".[46]

Non-European Super League clubs

Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain were sought out by the ESL to join; Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund were given 30 days, and Paris Saint-Germain 14 days, to sign up to the Super League,[47][48] but all three rejected involvement in the competition, publicly condemning the concept.[49][50] Pérez alleged that the three clubs had not been invited,[20] though reports claimed otherwise.[citation needed] Other French,[51] German,[51][52][53] Portuguese,[54] and Dutch clubs were reported to have declined to join the competition.[53]

West Ham United said on their website that they were strongly opposed to the Super League emphasising their working class roots and the 150 academy players who had developed to play for the first team.[55] In a statement Everton criticised the "big six" English clubs joining the Super League and accused them of "betraying" football supporters across England.[56]

Atalanta, Cagliari and Hellas Verona reportedly called for the Italian Super League teams to be banned from Serie A;[57] Hellas Verona denied in a statement to have requested such ban alongside Atalanta and Cagliari.[58]

Commentary

Despite claims that the ESL would be the "most significant restructuring of elite European football since the creation of the European Cup" and that claims of negative impacts from it were similar to the founding of the Premier League in 1992,[59][60][61] commentators had contrasting opinions. Although they noted that the new competition would eliminate financial risk for its founding members by operating on a "semi-closed" league setup similar to basketball's EuroLeague, which would also eliminate the risk of clubs failing to qualify or being relegated and give these clubs a stable source of revenue and increased value,[62][63] they also noted it had serious issues.

While Forbes contributor Marc Edelman, professor of law at the City University of New York, wrote that the Super League will bring the lucrative U.S. professional sports league model to Europe,[64] Ian Nicholas Quillen, MLS and American soccer contributor for Forbes, said the system would be "a sinister hybrid of ['closed' and 'open'] league systems that hoards the benefits of both for themselves, while deflecting the drawbacks onto most of its domestic league peers" that "offer[s] the Rest of Europe the most meager of prizes imaginable in order to justify not [providing stability or support to all participants] while hoarding the potential gains for themselves".[65] Bloomberg columnist Alex Webb argued that a diminished Premier League due to the Super League could hurt Britain's soft power as well.[66]

Commentators also noted how the ESL could render domestic competitions as irrelevant and lower tier compared to the Super League, and that it would destroy the ideas behind promotion and relegation systems; Pérez later countered this with claims that the ESL would later have a system of promotion and relegation.[19][67] In an opinion piece by Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports, while the idea was commended, the competition structure would strongly need a system of promotion and relegation based on performance in domestic leagues and the UEFA Champion's Cup, while adding that the ESL clubs should share more of its profits with lower status clubs.[68] Writing in Corriere della Sera, Italian sports commentator Mario Sconcerti called the Super League a "crude idea that goes against the fans".[69]

Michael Cox argued in The Athletic that the European Super League would help restore completive balance in European Football due to the widening gap between big, rich clubs and smaller, poorer clubs in domestic leagues, and this inequality would only increase as time goes on without a Super League.[70]

Commentary from the women's game was strongly negative, with several commentators pointing out that the Super League's one-line mention of creating a women's version of the competition seemed like an afterthought, lacking in any details and with many of the Super League clubs not having well-established women's sides.[71][72][73] 2018 Ballon d'Or Féminin winner Ada Hegerberg was the first high-profile women's players to speak out against the league, stating that "Greed is not the future."[74]

Broadcasters

UK broadcaster BT Sport, one of the networks that hold the rights to the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League, condemned the European Super League and said that it "could have a damaging effect to the long term health of football in the United Kingdom",[75] whilst its competitor Sky reiterated that it has not held talks to broadcast the league.[76] Amazon Prime Video, which owns streaming rights to the Premier League in the UK, stated they had no involvement.[77] DAZN confirmed they were not "in any way involved or interested in entering into discussions regarding the establishment of a Super League and no conversations have taken place".[78][79] Facebook also said they were not in discussions to broadcast the Super League.[80]

Mediapro, who hold the rights to La Liga and the Champions League in Spain, told Reuters that "television broadcasters won't break their contracts with UEFA and national leagues to join the breakaway European Super League project" (in Reuters' words), and also predicted that the Super League will fail.[79][81]

Individuals

"I would say that's a bad idea. Football has to stay united, it's the most important thing. It's based on sporting merit and overall to respect the history that has been built from European football."

—Former manager Arsène Wenger[82]

Former Manchester United player, current Salford City co-owner, and Sky Sports commentator Gary Neville's reaction generated strong attention on social media, calling the formation "an act of pure greed" and being especially disappointed at his former club's admission, going on to say that stringent measures must be taken against the founding clubs, including bans from European competitions and point deductions.[83] Neville's former United teammate Roy Keane said that is was motivated by "money, greed", and praised Bayern Munich for not taking part.[84]

Liverpool midfielder James Milner said in a post-match interview that he didn't like the European Super League and wished it wouldn't happen.[85] Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was also critical of the Super League, though he said he would not resign and instead would "sort it somehow” with Fenway Sports Group.[86] Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson called for a meeting for captains of Premier League clubs,[87] and later said "We don't like it and we don't want it to happen."[88]

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said he trusts his club to make the right decisions in relation to the European Super League.[89] Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola added that while "it is not [really] a sport if success is guaranteed",[90][91][92] UEFA "had failed" in advancing the sport and that footballing institutions "think for themselves."[92]

Stock market

Following the announcement of the European Super League, shares in Manchester United and Juventus increased 9% and 19%, respectively.[93][94] After the Super League was suspended, shares in the clubs dropped significantly.[95]

Fans

Football Supporters Europe (FSE), a body representing supporters in 45 UEFA countries, issued a statement opposing the creation of the Super League.[84] A snap YouGov poll conducted shortly after the league's announcement found that 79% of British football fans oppose the Super League with only 14% expressing support. 76% of fans of the British teams joining the Super League also expressed disapproval, with 20% expressing support.[96] International fans of the clubs involved as well as international football fans who did not support a particular club were largely supportive of the Super League.[97]

Supporter groups from all six English clubs opposed the league, releasing statements condemning the plans and the clubs for their involvement in the league.[98]

On 19 April, a crowd of about 700 fans appeared outside Elland Road despite COVID-19 restrictions, ahead of the scheduled match between Leeds United and Liverpool, to protest against the European Super League.[99] While warming up before the match, Leeds United players wore a shirt that read "Football is for the fans" on one side and "Earn it" with a Champions League logo on the other.[100] The shirts had been left on the benches inside the Liverpool changing room, but the players did not wear them. In addition, a large banner was placed behind one goal stating "Earn it on the pitch, football is for the fans."[101] The Athletic later reported that the shirts were approved by the Premier League.[102] Leeds also referred to Liverpool on social media as "Merseyside Reds", referencing the unlicenced name used for the club in the Pro Evolution Soccer video game series.[103]

Barcelona fans hung a banner over Camp Nou which read "Barcelona is our life, not your toy. No to playing in the Super League."[104]

On 20 April, more than a thousand Chelsea fans joined protests outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea's game against Brighton & Hove Albion and the team buses of both the clubs were blocked from entering the stadium.[105] Shortly after, it was relayed to the gathered fans that Chelsea would withdraw from the League,[106] leading to an outpour of celebration.[107]

Aftermath

Legal issues

On 19 April, Aleksander Čeferin stated that UEFA would begin making "legal assessments" on the following day, and that the organisation would look to ban the twelve Super League clubs "as soon as possible". However, the Super League informed UEFA and FIFA that they had begun legal action to prevent the competition from being thwarted.[108] Jesper Møller, chairman of the Danish Football Association and UEFA Executive Committee member, stated that he expected the three Super League clubs in the semi-finals of the 2020–21 UEFA Champions League—Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid—to be expelled from the competition by 23 April. In addition, he also expected Arsenal and Manchester United to be expelled from the semi-finals of the 2020–21 UEFA Europa League.[109] However, Super League chairman Florentino Pérez said that would be "impossible" and that the law protects them.[110][111] On 20 April, ESPN reported that UEFA decided to not ban the Super League teams from the Champions League and Europa League, and the matches will go ahead as scheduled.[112]

The Super League has also sparked discussion whether it is in violation of anti-trust laws since it contains business practices that are allegedly designed to reduce competition, by creating a protected market that restricts others from entering that may limit competition. The European Commission stated that it does not plan to investigate the Super League for anti-trust violations. Bloomberg columnist Alex Webb argued that the Commission's lack of investigation was justified; if a case against the Super League failed, other parties could interpret the case as condoning the Super League, and the Commission could face popular backlash.[66][113]

Sports lawyer Daniel Geey speculated that the UEFA and the European Super League, as well as the ECA, FIFPro, and FIFA, were involved in "a high-stakes game of negotiation", and that the launch of the Super League was not guaranteed.[114] Recalling a conversation with an unidentified lawyer, Sky Sports reporter Geraint Hughes stated that the main arguments for both sides would deal with competition law; UEFA would argue that the Super League would effectively be a closed league and that the clubs in the league were abusing their power, while the Super League would argue that restrictive conditions imposed by UEFA or FIFA would be anti-competitive. Hughes also stated that, in the lawyer's opinion, the Super League would have a slight advantage in a hypothetical case under current EU law; if there was a change in the interpretation of EU law then UEFA could win.[115]

On 20 April, a Spanish commercial court in Madrid preliminarily ruled that UEFA, FIFA, and any other associated football body cannot block the launch of the Super League until the court has fully considered the case.[56][116][117] The Super League believed that some of the rules its founding clubs are subject to were not "legally sound" and that they planned to test its efficacy in the European courts.[14]

Collapse

Spearheaded by Florentino Pérez of Real Madrid and Andrea Agnelli of Juventus, The Super League was in the works for three years. The final phases, though, were rushed, and allegiance among the 12 clubs—instead of the 15 as originally planned—seemed to have been forged under pressure. The announcement was unexpectedly poorly planned, devoid of real content. The coalition, liable to break under pressure, came apart quickly.[118]

On 20 April at 7pm GMT,[119] Chelsea publicly signalled their intention to withdraw from the League after chairman Bruce Buck met with the players.[106][120] 30 minutes later, Manchester City formally commenced procedures to withdraw from the League. Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur followed soon after; whilst Chelsea was the last English club to formally announce its withdrawal in the early hours of 21 April.[119][121] The same day, Atlético Madrid, Inter Milan, and Milan confirmed their exits.[122]

A mere three days in to its founding, 9 of the 12 clubs had announced their plans to withdraw, with just Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid remaining.[123][124] According to leaked documents, the clubs breaching contract are liable £130 million in penalty fees.[125]

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich allegedly withdrew in light of his relations with Russia, which through Gazprom is a major sponsor of the UEFA Champions League. Manchester City allegedly pulled out because Saudi Arabia, which does not have a positive human rights image internationally, was thought to be a major financier for the league;[126][127] JP Morgan dismissed that claim.[128]

Super League response

After the English clubs withdrew, on 21 April the Super League stated, "Given the current circumstances, we shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community."[129] Andrea Agnelli blamed the failure on Brexit[130] and that it was unlikely the Super League project would proceed in its current form, although he remained convinced in the "beauty of the project".[122][131]

Pérez reiterated none of the founding clubs had officially left the association,[132] as they were tied to "binding contracts".[133] He vowed to work with the governing bodies to make some form of the Super League work; whilst he blamed the English clubs of losing their nerve in face of opposition and the footballing authorities for acting unjustifiably aggressively.[134] Pérez insisted that The Super League project was merely "on standby" and not over.[135] Barcelona president Joan Laporta echoed Pérez's sentiments that a Super League remains "absolutely necessary" for clubs to survive.[136]

Club apologies

Arsenal chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham, met with fans and confirmed he had apologised to the 14 other Premier League clubs but that their reaction was rather "lukewarm". Arsenal's head coach, Mikel Arteta, revealed that the club's owner, Stan Kroenke, personally apologised to the players and the coaching staff. Arsenal's Board wrote an open letter to fans stating "we made a mistake, and we apologise for it" and hoped to regain trust whilst assuring of their commitment to rebuild the club.[137]

Chelsea, in an open letter from the owner and the board addressed to its fans, wrote they "deeply regret" the decision to join the Super League and pledged to work more closely with supporters in future. Whilst lamenting "the potential damage to the club's reputation" caused by their decision, Chelsea condemned the abuse received by club officials, and implored supporters to engage in a respectful dialogue. The Chelsea Supporters' Trust called for resignations from the club's board in light of the fiasco.[138]

Liverpool owner, John W. Henry, apologized to the fans for the "disruption" caused by club's decision to join the League.[139][140] Supporters' group Spion Kop 1906 dismissing the apology from the owners wrote, "[T]he only reason they are sorry is because they have been caught out yet again",[140] and demanded fan representation on the board. Jürgen Klopp said Henry hasn't been in touch with him since the plans unraveled though he came out in support of the owners stating, "[T]hey are not bad people. They made a bad decision."[139]

Manchester United senior executive, Ed Woodward, allegedly resigned due to differences with the owners, the Glazer family, on the viability of the Super League.[141][142] Though some alleged Woodward was involved in the plans for a breakaway league from "day one".[143] Manchester United's co-chairman, Joel Glazer, "unreservedly" apologized to fans shortly after their withdrawal was confirmed.[144] The Manchester United Supporters' Trust responded, "We cannot just carry on as if nothing has happened. This is a watershed moment and we need to see genuine change as a result."[131]

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano, in a message to fans, said that the board deeply regretted its actions and explained Manchester City's decision to join was motivated by "future ability to succeed and grow".[131]

Consequences

Whilst the opposition from fans in Spain remained subdued,[118] the supporters of the Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur, called on their owners to divest their investments. Supporters of Manchester City and Chelsea appeared more forgiving given their owners' track record and significant investments over the years that as of 2021 amounted to more than $2 billion combined.[140] A few observers deemed fan opposition of their respective clubs, which acted in self-preservation and with intentions to grow their investments, as naïve, simplistic, and misplaced.[145]

The Executives from the Big Six resigned from various league committees[146] after Richard Masters, CEO of the Premier League, called on them to either resign or be fired.[147] Amidst the trust deficit created as a result of the attempted breakaway,[148] other Premier League clubs called for layoffs of key personnel employed by the Big Six.[149]

La Liga President, Javier Tebas, said that La Liga would not pursue punishments for the Spanish clubs involved, leaving the matter up to UEFA. Tebas, however, called for measures to curb influence of clubs like PSG and Man City, to rethink redistribution of money across clubs, and cut down on unsustainable expenditures in the game.[136]

UEFA president Čeferin, though conciliatory in welcoming the breakaway clubs back into the fold, is said to be considering sanctions including banning them from the upcoming Champions League season. Some UEFA members called for the recent changes to the Champions League format set to be implemented from the 2024 season, which would benefit the richer clubs more, to be rolled back.[150] On 23 April, the ECA stated they have moved on and urged the rest of the footballing community to do the same.[151]

JP Morgan, the financier of the League's proposed $3.25 billion project, said they were taken aback by the opposition and "misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community". The bank's involvement prompted a sustainability rating agency to downgrade its assessment of JP Morgan's ethical performance. JP Morgan added they had no say in the League's strategy, but one person familiar with the matter said the League had plans to fund grassroots sports and community projects.[152]

The British Government announced its plans to commence a "fan-led review" into governance of English football, which Boris Johnson described as a "root and branch investigation". The review also aims to examine potential changes to ownership models, like the 50+1 rule employed in Germany.[153] Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party,[154] Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, came out in support of the review.[155] Paul Widdop, a senior lecturer in sports business at Manchester Metropolitan University, criticised the move, stating that while the incumbent government pursues a neo-liberalist agenda with every other industry, it seeks socialist reform only in football.[145]

Following the league's suspension, the BBC's Simon Stone said a revised Super League concept could be tabled at some point in future, especially with clubs still seeking increased broadcast revenues received from matches.[156]

Wider fan protests

Following the collapse of the European Super League many fan groups in England continued protesting against the ownership of certain clubs and for the introduction of the 50+1 rule seen in German football. One of the first of these protests occured one day after the Super League's suspension where, on 22 April, a group of around 20 Manchester United fans gained access to the club's training facility at Carrington for over two hours demanding the Glazers sell the club.[157] The following day, on 23 April, a group of over 3,000 Arsenal fans gathered outside the Emirates Stadium protesting for the removal of Stan Kroenke.[158][159][160] In response to this, Josh Kroenke stated that the owners had no intention of selling their stake.[161] The same day, a group of about of 100 Tottenham Hotspur supporters appeared outside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium calling for the removal of Daniel Levy and ENIC Group as owners.[162] On 24 April, a group of around 2,000 Manchester United fans gathered outside Old Trafford to the protests against the Glazer ownership of Manchester United; the protest was the most significant of its kind since 2010, and is part of a movement that started back in 2004 before the Glazer family took ownership.[163][164][165]

See also

References

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