The proposed Super League also known as the European Super League created massive unrest, anger and controversy amongst football fans all over the world during the last few days.
We take a closer look at how the Super League came about, which teams joined the league and how it all disintegrated in a 72 hour period.
If you are a hardcore football fan you would not have been caught completely off-guard by the announcement of the European Super League.
This is because there were rumours floating around in European media in early Jan 2021 that there were talks taking place behind the scenes of establishing a breakaway league known as the European Super League.
Those initial rumours suggested that a rebel league would be established either in 2022 or 2023 and would feature a total of 20 top football teams from around the world, 15 of those teams would be permanent members of the league. The European Super League was going to woo teams to join them by offering them a whopping signup fee of £310 million pounds for the first season and another £213 million pounds for the second season.
There was no information given as to which teams would join the European Super League other than the fact that it would include some of the biggest football franchises in world football.
Super League Announcement
The European Super League surprised both football fans and FIFA on April 18 when British media announced that the rebel league had launched operations and had signed five of the top Premier league teams already. The five teams that had allegedly signed with the rebel league were Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool and Manchester United.
The football world was abuzz with news of the rebel European Super League and it did not take long for other top teams to throw their hat into the ring and express interest in the league. Some of the teams that wanted to join the European Super League included Inter, Juventus and AC Milan from Italy, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona from Spain and Manchester City from the UK.
Real Madrid President Chairs Super League
Football fans were shocked to see so many of the top football teams in the world willing to challenge UEFA and breakaway from the Champions League and Europa League competitions to join the European Super League. Fans wanted to know more about this rebel league and who were the people behind it. It was clear to football fans that the European Super League was carefully planned and kept secret for a number of months and that there had to be high profile individuals backing and pushing the rebel league.
News broke that Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid was one of the key members behind the European Super League and would serve as the first chairman of the rebel league. Manchester United executive VP Ed Woodward and Andrea Agnelli, President for Juventus resigned from the European Club Association to join the rebel Super League.
Proposed European Super League Format
The Super League went on to sign 12 football teams within a matter of 48 hours and announced on its website that it would hold a mid-week competition where a total of 20 teams would be divided into two groups of 10 teams each. They would play home and away games and the top three teams in the two groups would then automatically qualify for the quarter-finals. The teams in fourth and fifth position would play each other for the final two spots.
Super League President Perez released a statement to inform fans that the Super League was not created for the rich but was created to save the game of football. Perez said that if the Super League was not established, the game of football would die by the end of 2024.
Massive Backlash To Super League
Football pundits, fans and even government officials lashed out at the Super League and the teams that had joined the league. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took direct aim at the rebel league and said that his government would do everything in their power to ensure that English clubs would not join the European Super League.
Aleksander Ceferin, President of UEFA condemned the Super League and said the people behind the Super League were snakes. He called for FIFA to ban all the rebel clubs immediately from participating in any FIFA tournaments.
Sky Sports Football
The biggest backlash came from the fans who took to social media to express their anger, disappointment and frustration at their clubs for selling out. Loads of fans also turned up to live games and protested by outside the stadium and also inside the stadium. The fans made it very clear that they would not support any team who would breakaway to join the European Super League.
European Super League Collapses
While a number of big name football teams were quick to join the rebel league, there were also a number of top teams that refused to join the European Super League. Some of the teams that declined to cut ties with FIFA and join the Super League were France’s Paris Saint-Germain, Germany’s Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich.
The massive backlash prompted a few players and managers from the clubs who had joined the rebel league, to release statements and claim that they were not in favour of joining the European Super League and were not consulted when the decision was made.
Suddenly the tide changed overnight due to the massive backlash and just two days after the European Super League was established, it started to disintegrate overnight. The Super League started to fall apart quickly after news broke that a couple of Premier League clubs were reconsidering their decision of joining the Super League.
Chelsea was one of the first cubs to confirm on April 20 that it had decided to withdraw from the Super League. Manchester United was quick to follow and news broke that Ed Woodward had tendered in his resignation and would move on from Man U. Manchester City also released a statement on the same day and confirmed its withdrawal from the Super League.
Before the end of the night, the remaining Premier League clubs which included Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool all released statements and confirmed their withdrawal. A number of these clubs also went on to release statements and apologize to their fans.
The European Super League released a statement on April 21 and claimed that Premier League clubs were forced to withdraw due to the pressure they received. The Super League confirmed that it would abandon its plans for now and look to reshape the project before trying to launch again.
Future Of Football
The Super League did not provide any information as to when it would look to re-launch. The big question is whether the Super League will succeed the next time it tries to launch under a new business model. What can FIFA and the top football confederations do to prevent such a situation from arising again? What will happen to the game of football going forward?
These are some of the big questions that fans would like answers to! They can relax for now as the Super League has been supressed for now!