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The Super League: A sinking ship

The European Super League / thesuperleague.com
The European Super League / thesuperleague.com
The European Super League / thesuperleague.com

After being announced on Sunday, the evening of April 18th, the European Super League seems nothing more than a distant dream of the few only 3 days later.

The football world went up into flames when a selected few of the European elite clubs decided to formally announce the creation of a new league outside the jurisdiction of UEFA. The turmoil which followed the announcement resulted in some strong arguments raised against the negative moral implications the clubs failed to take into account.

Several German and French clubs had voiced their opinions, disliking the idea and establishment of a Super League, and this was acknowledged in the recent joint statement released by UEFA, FIFA, and several football associations around Europe.

The CEO of FC Bayern Munich Karl-Heinz Rummenigge released a statement yesterday in which he explained why Bayern will stand against the Super League:

“On behalf of the board, I would like to make it explicitly clear that FC Bayern will not be taking part in the Super League. FC Bayern stands in solidarity with the Bundesliga. It always was and is a great pleasure for us to be able to play and represent Germany in the Champions League. We all remember fondly our 2020 Champions League victory in Lisbon – you don’t forget such a joyful moment. For FC Bayern, the Champions League is the best club competition in the world.”

The pressure upon the self-proclaimed “super” 12 was too strong to bear or fight against, so the founding clubs started withdrawing their names from the league. Manchester City was the first club to announce their departure on Tuesday evening. All the other Premier League teams quickly followed suit, with Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal all posting their official statements of withdrawal on social media. Gunners even publicly apologized to their fans.

It was initially reported that the remaining six clubs, including FC Barcelona, would remain staunch in their aspirations, but the statements from the Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli paint a different picture.

According to a report from Sky Sports, after being asked whether the project could still happen after the departures of the six EPL clubs, Agnelli said:

“To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case.”

Nonetheless, he remains convinced by the beauty of the project.

It was to be expected that a new day would offer some fresh developments on the Super League front. And as it were, Internazionale Milano and Atletico Madrid both officially announced they will also not be participating in the ESL. This brought the number of the remaining participants down to four.

Juventus and AC Milan later both followed with a statement of theirs, in which they conceded the fact that the Super League will not be instigated in its initially planned form. They however do not seem keen on wholly abandoning the idea, from which we can conclude that they will still push for reforms in European football.

Many culés probably expected that FC Barcelona would follow the trend, but Samuel Marsden of ESPN and Achraf Ben Ayad of beIN SPORTS both report differently. Laporta and his team want to make a decision that will protect the club’s best interests, so they remain in contact with both sides. As of now, they do not plan to release a statement regarding the situation.

UEFA appears to be smiling from above while watching the sinking of the European Super League. Aleksander Čeferin, the president of UEFA, was not hesitant about welcoming the dropouts back in the fold.

“I said yesterday that it is admirable to admit a mistake and these clubs made a big mistake. But now they have returned and I know they have a lot to offer, not only to our competitions but to all of European football,” he was pleased about the withdrawals, as per Cadena SER.

Furthermore, he stressed that the important thing to do now is “to move forward, rebuild the unity that the game enjoyed before this and move forward together.”

To summarize all the recent unfoldings on the matter, it seems that UEFA will be coming out as the winner of the whole farce surrounding the events of the last few days.

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