(London) Premier League project stillborn in 48 hours? Manchester City has already announced its withdrawal from the project of this special competition competing for the Champions League, in the face of threats from football authorities and protest from the government and his supporters.
They believed they would persuade the football world by offering more high-stakes matches, and they aimed to generate massive income by securing a permanent ticket in an event nearly inaccessible to other teams on the continent …
But the twelve “rebels”, led by Real Madrid, Liverpool and Juventus Turin, began to split resoundingly as they separated at night from Sunday to Monday.
Manchester City was the first to surrender, announcing in a statement that it had “formally launched measures to withdraw from the group responsible for the development of the European Premier League project”.
A transformation UEFA President Alexander Ceferin immediately welcomed. “I am delighted to welcome City’s return to the European football family,” he said in comments sent to Agence France-Presse, praising the “great intelligence” and “courage” of this split.
Previously, several British media outlets reported that Chelsea was about to withdraw. In Spain, other press reports mention withdrawal from studying Atletico Madrid and a videoconference of rebel clubs.
Judicial victory of the rebels
If City does eventually give up, it could be due to public outcry from fans, players, authorities and even governments.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote on Twitter shortly before Manchester City’s statement: “The decision taken by Chelsea and Manchester City is – if confirmed – absolutely correct, and I applaud it.”
“I hope that other clubs participating in the European League will follow this initiative,” added Johnson, who has promised to use all means against the Premier League, “including the legislative option.”
In the evening, several hundred English club fans loudly expressed their disapproval near Stamford Bridge in Chelsea, London.
“Manchester City is in my blood, my uncle played with City and everyone in my family is a City fan. But I don’t want to be part of this elite, so I still prefer our vision in the second league (D4),” Zach Bookbinder, 16, told AFP Press, to pretend with friends.
UEFA, for its part, has been defending its own reform of the UEFA Champions League, a traditional club competition from the Old Continent since 1955, fired live ammunition Monday at these “snakes” “directed only by greed.” Speeches of the President of the European Union Alexander Severin.
He did not hesitate to threaten the twelve dissident acts of massive reprisals, such as excluding these clubs from all national and international competitions, even if they carried the European Nations Cup or the World Cup without the international players playing in these teams.
But he also urged them to “change their minds” after a “fatal mistake.”
FIFA President Gianni Infantino also came to the aid of troubled European football, reiterating his opposition to this “closed club”. “You are either at home or abroad,” he said Tuesday morning at the UEFA conference in Montreux (Switzerland).
The Super League, led by Real Madrid coach Florentino Perez, seemed to anticipate the protest and the threats. It even won its first legal victory on Tuesday by obtaining from a commercial court in Madrid a decision that is likely to temporarily freeze any punishment that belongs to it.
A cry in Europe
In contrast, the response was nonetheless structured at all levels.
And so the players of Liverpool, another rebel club, showed their hostility to the project by issuing a joint statement against their employer.
With the scheduled meeting of the UEFA Executive Committee on Friday, the issue of excluding “rebellious” clubs remained on the table, especially for the current edition of the UEFA Champions League, whose last yard includes three clubs involved. Chelsea and Real Madrid).
Several football personalities have also demonstrated their opposition to the project, which is likely to revitalize the hierarchical structure of European Round ball and redistribute income.
One of the most tumultuous opinions was Pep Guardiola, the star coach of Manchester City, a breakaway club. For the Catalans, this new European Cup disables the very idea of competition.
Guardiola said: “It is not a sport if success is guaranteed or if the loss is not important,” while Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp was cautious on Monday.
These statements sum up the deep line of dissent created by the twelve rebel clubs, made up of six Englishmen, three Spaniards and three Italians … but neither the German nor the French.
The 12 “insurgents” announced that they wanted to create a semi-closed league that could match the NBA or NFL tournament.
The promoters argued that the new competition was destined to “generate additional resources for the entire football pyramid”. The key is a “one-time payment for 3.5 billion euros” for the 15 founding clubs.
By comparison, UEFA collected € 3.2 billion in revenue for club competitions in 2018-2019, before the pandemic spread, and was redistributed to more than 80 clubs participating in the UEFA Champions League and European League.
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