Plans for European Super League fall apart

In 2018, documents outlining plans for another European Soccer League were uncovered by Football Leakes, and the news of this discovery was recently addressed by the German newspaper Der Spiegel. 

Typically, each soccer team would take part in a competition on the national level, in which they only played teams in the same country, and if they finished near the top of the leaderboard, they would be given the opportunity to participate in the Champions League, a club soccer competition created by the Union of European Football Associations meant for the top 32 European teams.

When these documents were first discovered, it was said that a 16-team tournament comprising the strongest and biggest clubs in Europe would begin as early as 2021.

Within these documents, numerous football club names — Barcelona, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich — were listed as the founding members of the league.

Not only were the founding teams listed, but those who would be guests to the tournament — Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Marseille and Roma — had also been listed in these documents.

Just like in the Champions League, the involvement of these teams in the Super League was expected to change, as the leaderboards of La Liga, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1 changed each season.

While this was originally seen as a way of increasing the revenue for the teams involved, recent backlash from the public and the managers of the six Premier League teams have decreased the likelihood of its establishment.

Soon after the news of the league was announced publicly, the English teams —  Manchester City and Chelsea —  were the first to announce their withdrawal from the Super League.

In response to the news that Manchester City would be one of the teams guaranteed a spot in the European Super League, the manager of the English side, Pep Guardiola stated, “It is not a sport when it doesn’t matter where you lose.”  

According to The Athletic, “Chelsea’s decision to leave the Super League was taken by owner Roman Abramovich and the club’s board after witnessing the extremely negative global reaction.”

Some of these negative comments came directly from some extremely devoted Chelsea fans, who believed that Chelsea’s involvement in the Super League was “the ultimate betrayal.”

In fact, since withdrawing from the competition, the London side has expressed deep regret from deciding to join the Super League in the first place.

Shortly after Chelsea and Manchester City withdrew from the ESL, all six of the other English participants also withdrew from the competition.

Following the withdrawal of the Premier League teams from the ESL, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced that the sport’s authorities would have the “full backing” from his government to take action against the Super League plans.

Bundesliga side Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain also rejected their spots in the Super League following the announcement that all six premier league sides had withdrawn from the competition.

Not only have the teams involved stepped up to criticize the ESL, but the streaming networks Amazon, BT Sport and Sky Sports have all released a statement expressing their concerns for the league.

“Amazon Prime Video understands and shares the concerns raised by football fans regarding a breakaway Super League,” Amazon wrote in a statement. “We believe that part of the drama and beauty of European football comes from the ability of any club to achieve success through their performance on the pitch.”

Despite the harsh criticism from both the teams involved and streaming networks all around the world, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have yet to announce whether or not they will follow suit and leave the ESL.

In response to the unraveling of the Super League, Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, was quick to lay blame on Manchester City, as they were the first team to formally announce their decision not to take part in the Super League.

“The one from Manchester saw that campaign saying this will kill the leagues, that it won’t allow (sporting) merit, that it was the end of football,” said Florentino Perez, Real Madrid President and head of the European Super League. “There are people who have privileges and don’t want to lose them, even if it ruins football. When the English called me (on Tuesday), we met to see what we could do. They tried, but said: ‘Look, we’re not going to do this.’”

Following this statement, all of the teams who were originally involved in the breakaway, except for Barcelona and Juventus, have turned against Florentino Perez.

Even though these teams have selected to leave the European Super League and have fully turned against Florentino Perez, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin stated that these 12 teams will still face consequences for originally deciding to join the European Super League.

Despite the possible consequences, the plans for the Champions League semi-finals between Chelsea and Real Madrid and Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are still expected to be played as originally planned.