As a slew of foreign-owned clubs announced plans to form a breakaway Super League on Sunday, the brass behind the scenes have come under heavy criticism. Even the players have started voicing their opinions on the proposed project.
The 12 elite clubs from England, Spain and Italy are set to leave the existing UEFA-run Champions League structure despite warnings they could be kicked out of their domestic competitions and face legal action.
The seismic move to shake up the world’s biggest sport is partly engineered by the American owners of Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester United. The other founding members are Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
On Monday, Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes became the first potential Super League player to have his say on the new competition.
The Portuguese international commented on his compatriot Daniel Podence’s post on Instagram and then shared it on his own social media. He commented: “Enorme,” which translates to, “Dreams can’t be buy.”
🇵🇹 Bruno Fernandes and João Cancelo, alongside Daniel Podence, have shown their support in the fight against the European Super League.
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) April 19, 2021
The reaction to the potentially seismic changes being pushed through by 12 of the world’s biggest clubs ranged from humour to sarcasm to condemnation and anger.
Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League – not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there…⚽💔
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 19, 2021
— Ander Herrera (@AnderHerrera) April 19, 2021
The day football stopped being football and became soccer. pic.twitter.com/Fa16rYkPTb
— Dejan Lovren (@Dejan06Lovren) April 19, 2021
The Ball. The Song. The Dream.
The Zidane’s volley… Kaka’s Solo… Liverpool In Athens… Ole in Barcelona… Cris and Seedorf …
There some things we just can’t really pay for it. pic.twitter.com/v0cC9gZu9N
— Daniel Podence (@daniel_podence) April 19, 2021
Today I wake up to crazy news! 😡 An insult to my belief: football is happiness, freedom, passion, fans and is for everyone. This project is disgusting, not fair and I’m disappointed to see clubs I represented involved. Fight against this! 💪🏻❤️⚽️ #StopTheSuperLeague
— Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) April 19, 2021
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) April 18, 2021
This lot think they can sweep up £300m more each season than the other teams and then wander back on a Saturday and play with that advantage in the PL . Deduct points , fine heavily and embargo transfers. I hope they haven’t bought some of the other 14 clubs. #stopthesuperleague
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) April 19, 2021
Football is nothing without its fans. We’ve seen that clearly over the last 12 months. If fans stand as one against this anti-football pyramid scheme, it can be stopped in its tracks.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) April 19, 2021
“This is, for me, a war on football.”
“It’s a disgrace, it’s embarrassing, and it goes against everything that football is about.”
Some strong feelings about the European Super League from our panel.
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 18, 2021
Dear AC Milan, Arsenal , Atlético, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham fans,
If you need a new club to support, we’re always here for you.
FC Spartak Moscow.
— FC Spartak Moscow (@fcsm_eng) April 18, 2021
STATEMENT | ESL
Despite the club’s two 4-0 victories this week, we can confirm that we will not be seeking membership to the newly uncovered ‘European Super League’ and will continue our quest to reach the EFL.
The club will be making no further comment.
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) April 18, 2021
— Bray Wanderers FC (@BrayWanderers) April 18, 2021
The only real mouthpieces for the breakaway clubs could be their coaches, who must hold news conferences before and after matches. One of them, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, said he had “no doubt that my club will make the best decision for its future.”
“I’ll be prepared to coach wherever they tell me to coach,” Simeone said. “I have no doubt that the club will decide what is best.”
(with AP inputs)