Premier League clubs Chelsea and Manchester City were reportedly preparing the paperwork to withdraw from the erupting European Super League less than 72 hours after agreeing to join it, in a big way for the proposed new competition.
Shortly before the BBC reported that the two English clubs were about to withdraw from the breakaway competition, the new league went to court to prevent the football authorities from thwarting their plans.
Chelsea and City were among the 12 teams that announced on Sunday that they had drawn a rival to the UEFA Champions League without the need for an annual qualification.
The announcement has led to a wave of opposition from within the game, the political world and public opinion, especially in England.
The news that Chelsea, owned by Russian Roman Abramovich, took steps to withdraw from the pitch was wildly celebrated by Chelsea fans who had protested outside their team behind closed Premier League matches against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Neither Chelsea, Manchester City nor the Super League organization immediately responded to a request for comment.
Several media also reported that Manchester United’s vice-president Ed Woodward, one of the leaders in the emerging European Super League project, has left his retirement to the Premier League club.
The Manchester Evening News said Woodward would remain in his role until the end of the year despite resigning.
The move came shortly after the Super League won a preliminary ruling from a court in Madrid to stop the European football organization UEFA and the sport’s global governing body FIFA from imposing sanctions to stop the new formation.
The company that starts to run the new league is headquartered in Madrid and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is the league’s first chairman.
The court said in a ruling that Reuters saw that FIFA, UEFA and all its associated federations may not adopt “any measure that prohibits, restricts, restricts or conditions in any way” the creation of the Super League.
It was not immediately clear which authority the Madrid court, which decides corporate disputes, had over the Swiss-based football agencies. A source close to UEFA said the organization was “relaxed” about the decision.
The Super League has hoped that a mix of defensive court action and speed will lead the football authorities to accept their new competition within the game.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the clubs could not be “half in, half out” from the established framework.
UEFA has threatened to ban the 12 clubs, which include Manchester United and Real Madrid, from domestic and international competition, with Infantino adding his voice in the backlash.
“We strongly disapprove … if some go their own way, they will have to live with the consequences of their choice, either you are in or you are out,” Infantino told the UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
The scale of the transformation has led to political leaders across Europe speaking out and, in some cases, threatening intervention.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government would consider passing legislation to stop the outbreak and compare plans to create a cartel.
Johnson held a meeting with representatives of the English Football Association, the English Premier League and fan groups where he confirmed that the government would not stand for allowing the creation of a closed shop.
“If it is necessary, in order to protect this principle of competition, we will, as I said, seek the bodies sooner, we will seek the legislative solution.”
Under continued condemnation and threats, UEFA President Alexander Ceferin offered an olive branch to the outbreak and asked them to “think again”.
The Super League believes it would increase revenue for the top clubs and allow them to hand out more money to the rest of the game.
However, the sport’s governing body, other teams and fan organizations say it will increase the power and wealth of elite clubs and that the league’s closed structure runs counter to European football’s long – standing model.
Unlike Europe’s current elite Champions League competition, where teams must qualify through their domestic league, the founding Super League teams would guarantee a place in the new competition every year.
England’s “big sex” – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal – came under fire from their domestic rivals for their involvement, and Everton accused them of worrying arrogance.
The English Premier League said it had “unanimously and strongly” rejected the plans.
After a meeting with the 14 clubs not involved, it said it was considering “all available measures” to stop the new competition.
The German Football Association (DFB) went even further and demanded the suspension of the 12 founding clubs until they reconsidered.
“Clubs and their youth teams should be banned from all competitions until they think of their many supporters who have primarily made them top clubs in the world, and not just their wallets,” DFB President Fritz Keller said in an official DFB Twitter account. .
In addition to the “Big Six” from England and Real, the Italian clubs registered Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan together with Spain’s Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.
UEFA chief Ceferin accused the outbreak of dozens of contempt for smaller clubs, but Slovenia insisted there was still time for reconciliation.
“I would like to speak to the owners of some English clubs. Gentlemen, you made a big mistake, he said. “Some will say it’s greed, others contempt, arrogance or complete ignorance of England’s football culture, but it really does not matter.
“The important thing is that there is still time to change, everyone makes mistakes, English fans deserve you to correct your mistakes, they deserve respect.”
“Football is a game for everyone,” said the PSG manager
Speaking to UEFA’s congress Ceferin made a point of thanking Paris St Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, whose club is not one of those involved in the breakaway.
Khelaifi issued a statement following his re-election to UEFA’s executive committee criticizing the new Super League.
“We believe that any proposal without the support of UEFA – an organization that has worked to promote the interests of European football for almost 70 years – does not address the issues currently facing the football community but is instead driven by self-interest,” the statement said. that PSG would continue to work with UEFA.
“Paris Saint-Germain is convinced that football is a game for everyone,” said Al-Khelaifi.
The Portuguese giants Benfica also issued a statement denying that they were in discussions to agree and reject the plan, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was sincere in his opinion of the proposed league.
“It’s not a sport where the relationship between effort and success does not exist,” he said, adding that those behind it had a duty to provide more information.
“It’s not a sport where success is already guaranteed or it does not matter where you lose.”
Despite the general wave of criticism, the initiators continued to argue that the outbreak was good for football.
In a letter to the club’s commercial partner, AC Milan’s CEO, Ivan Gazidis, we say: ‘We are confident that this new competition will capture the imagination of billions of football fans around the world and will be a new, exciting chapter. for the game. ”
( Jowharwith REUTERS and AFP)