Plans for the European football superleague appeared on the verge of collapse on Tuesday, a spectacular transplant for a multibillion-dollar proposal that hinted Of anger From almost every corner of the game since it was announced on Sunday.
Manchester City, one of the six English teams signing as founding members of the new league, said it had begun the process of withdrawing from the project. About the face of City, there was talk of his soon-to-be-known Spanish coach Pep Guardiola coming soon Slogan of schemes For a closed competition, the saying goes, “It’s not a game if it doesn’t matter losing.”
According to a person familiar with the club’s discussions, Chelsea was preparing documents for a similar vicissitudes. A spokesman for the club declined to comment.
And Manchester United executive vice president, Ed Woodward, one of the main drivers behind the Super League scheme, will leave the club at the end of the year, Team announced. Neither he nor the club’s co-chairman, Joel Glazer, made any reference to the Super League as he praised his tenure.
The loss of two giant Premier League clubs – and one of the major architects of the Super League – would most likely be the death knell for the league, separating it from the leadership and some competitive legitimacy of both that made it attractive to sponsors and broadcasters Must have made . It could also force other clubs – notably the four other Premier League teams that were signed – to reconsider their participation.
The president of European football’s governing body, Alexander Seferin, praised the city’s announcement. Sefferin fought fiercely for the departure of top clubs this week, and spoke publicly about the sense of personal betrayal he felt from some of his top officials.
“I am delighted to welcome back to the city’s European football family,” Sefferin said minutes after Citi’s announcement, “It is courage to admit a mistake, but I never doubted that they had It was decision making ability and common sense. “
Other top clubs in Europe had already rejected the project. French champions Paris Saint-Germain, a team with a deep pocket, which was awarded by the Super League, announced on Tuesday that it would not participate. Its decision came a day after going public with protests from German powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Four-time champions of the Champions League, perennial Dutch champions Ajax, soon surfaced against the scheme.
Super League, a coalition of a dozen of the world’s best, richest and most popular teams, Football structures and economics have to be remodeled, And brought about one of the largest redistributions of funds in the history of the game, which would be permanent members of the new elite competition by funding billions of dollars for a handful of clubs. Some of football’s biggest brands – including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Juventus – were part of the league.
Instead, it appeared to be falling amidst a growing wave of internal rebellion, political threats, fan outrage, Public ridicule And, most ominously, hitting a U-turn by many of its founding teams.
European football officials expressed anger at the plans over the weekend, seen as a direct challenge to domestic leagues and continental competitions that have served as the backbone of European football for a century.
That outrage soon spread. Players from potential Super League clubs came out publicly against the plan. The coaches did not downplay their opposition. And politicians in England and France resolved to oppose the plan with official action.
In Britain, which is providing half the members of the group, Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with fan representatives and Premier League leaders on Tuesday. Later, his office pledged to do whatever it could to prevent the multibillion-dollar competition from moving forward, assuming that there was nothing on the table.
“We are exploring a range of options, including legislative,” said Max Blaine, Johnson’s spokesman.
Later in the day, hundreds of fans opposing the Super League marched on Chelsea’s stadium ahead of their game with Brighton, a day after Liverpool fans surrounded the team’s bus as it took on Premier League games at Leeds United had come for.
After that game, the Liverpool coach and his players revealed that he was not advised about the plans, and at least one said he did not want any part of it. “I don’t like it, And hopefully that doesn’t happen, “club veteran James Milner said.
On Tuesday, many of his colleagues Tweeted That sentiment, together, made it clear that Liverpool’s decision to collectively sign the players was opposed. His German manager, Jürgen Klopp, a longtime and outspoken opponent of the Superleague concept, said he planned to discuss the matter with the team owners.
Chelsea, like some other founding clubs, have been terrified by the strength of their fans and the wider British public to oppose the proposals. According to a person with knowledge of the club’s plans, the change in team spirit led to a change in the team.
The Guardian newspaper reported that the team was forced to pull out after an uprising by players who would not participate in their national teams in global competitions such as the World Cup or this summer’s European Championships and regional tournaments such as the Copa America. . .
Those threats came from UEFA, which oversees football in Europe, including the Champions League and the sport’s global governing body, FIFA.
Fifa was Warned clubs in January If they go ahead with plans for a new league, it will prevent them and their players from international competitions, and the president of the organization Gianni Infantino, addressing a European football conference on Tuesday – renewed that threat For – without repeating it seemed. in Switzerland.
“If some choose to go their own way, they must live with the results of their choice, they are responsible for their choice,” Infantino said in a speech to European football leaders in Montrox, Switzerland. “It means that either you are inside, or you are outside. You cannot be half and half out. It should be absolutely clear. “
Threats, if followed through FIFA, weighed. The 12 Super League clubs employ many of the world’s top players, including Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, Spain France, and even the core of national teams from the United States.
Some clubs involved in the project have expressed disappointment over how it was rolled out since Sunday. A statement announcing a league that its supporters said would “open a new chapter for European football” came late on Sunday as most of Europe slept.
But almost no public comment was made after the teams were involved, with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the only executive involved in a plan to publicly defend it, a chat show aired at midnight Monday in Spain I was left to defend it.
The president of the new league and for years one of its key proponents, Perez stressed that the project would benefit all football, adding that there was a risk of economic collapse due to the global epidemic. He did not find out how many of the clubs that signed up in the new league had been so badly maligned before the epidemic, or a motivating case for television and billions of dollars of top clubs to sponsor revenue. Let’s make. For leagues and teams will be filtered down.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always people who oppose it,” Perez said. “We are doing this to save football at this critical moment.”