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Arans Tabaruka
European Super League Clubs Break Away

European soccer was rocked by the biggest story in at least a generation when 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs announced plans to break away from the established soccer order and form a Super League. The development has the potential to remake the European soccer landscape dramatically, and there is still much that isn’t known about what’s ahead.

The basics?

A group of 12 clubs from across Europe’s biggest leagues announced plans to form a new competition called the Super League. The league, should it be established, would offer permanent spots to some of the world’s biggest clubs and play matches midweek, while allowing the involved clubs to remain in their domestic competitions. This plan is currently opposed by FIFA and UEFA, the governing bodies for international and European soccer, respectively.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is also chairman of the Super League, said the financial losses from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is part of the chief reason why he chose to team up with other top clubs to break away.

“The important clubs of Spain, England and Italy have to find a solution to this very bad situation that football is in,” Perez said. “We came to a conclusion that by creating a Super League, instead of playing Champions League midweek, we can alleviate lost revenue.

“Football needs to evolve, like life does … Soccer needs to adapt to the times we live in. Football is losing interest … Something must be done and the pandemic hastened that. We are all ruined.

“Instead of playing the Champions [League] as it is, which is losing interest, now we must find something enticing which is to play amongst the big clubs. We are at a critical moment. Fifteen teams generate value, and five other teams will make the Super League through sporting merit. It is not a closed league. We believe in the merit of teams so that they fight to deserve to play in a competition like this.”

UEFA is threatening legal action against those 12 teams and could, in theory, ban them from future competitions. Jesper Møller, Danish FA chairman and UEFA ExCo member said to Danish outlet DR Sport that semifinalists involved in the Super League — Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City — will be expelled from this season’s competition, along with the remaining breakaway participants, by Friday.
Sunday’s announcement of a breakaway Super League with 12 founding European clubs has sent shockwaves through the soccer world.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus are the clubs in question and their participation already has the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A scrambling to react.

Players and coaches, past and present, are having their say even clubs involved in this season’s competitions — and it is clear that the soccer world is against the Super League.

Florentino Perez Real Madrid President.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has branded his beloved Reds “an embarrassment” while legendary former Manchester United man Gary Neville admitted that he is “disgusted” by the club’s actions.

Luis Figo, a former Barcelona and Real Madrid player, called the Super League “anything but ‘super'” while ex-Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes that “the idea will not go far” and that “soccer must stay united.”

Gunners’ legend Ian Wright called the Londoners’ Super League role “shameful” while British footballing institution Sir Alex Ferguson accused former employers United of orchestrating “a move away from 70 years of European club football.”

Among the players outraged by the announcement are United’s Bruno Fernandes, Paris Saint-Germain’s Ander Herrera, Fenerbahce’s Mesut Ozil, Liverpool’s James Milner and Antalyaspor’s Lukas Podolski are all current or former players of clubs in question.

Shortly after Liverpool’s draw against Leeds United in the Premier League on Monday, Milner of the Reds spoke out against the Super League, saying he hopes it does not happen.

James Milner, Liverpool Player.

Former Arsenal man Ozil spoke of his “dreaming to win the World Cup and Champions League – not Super League” while Podolski branded the move “disgusting” and added that that he is “disappointed to see the club I represented involved.”

Germany itself has created a lot of resistance to the idea with giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund against it and outgoing German and European champion coach Hansi Flick clear that the Super League “would not be good for European soccer.”

Bayern and PSG, last year’s two Champions League finalists and semi-finalists this year, were both part of a unanimous vote to pass UEFA’s proposed reforms this Monday.

Arans Tabaruka
Arans Tabaruka

Editor and Africa correspondent

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