The negative reaction to Sunday’s ‘The Super League’ announcement has been unsurprisingly strong, vocal, and widespread, but it remains to be seen whether any of that emotion carries over into tangible action — and I don’t mean protests by fans, who at the end of the day carry the least amount of power in this situation.
UEFA, who stand to lose the most in this proposal, have come out strong from the start, threatening wide-reaching bans for the teams and players involved. (While it’s not the players’ or the coaches’ fault, dissuading them from playing for these teams is certainly a useful strategy for UEFA.) However, even UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has admitted that UEFA don’t actually know how much power they have to follow through on any of those threats.
“We’re still assessing with our legal team but we will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon we can. My opinion is that as soon as possible they have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions.”
-Aleksander Ceferin; source: AS
It should be noted that according to multiple reports, including The Athletic and the PA, The Super League have already filed pre-emptive motions in unnamed European courts against any such legal action that UEFA might take, banning players or teams from competitions (such as the World Cup) that they do not administer. The Super League say they want to resolve differences with UEFA & FIFA through open dialogue, but we’re clearly not to that point yet.
UEFA do seem to have the support of all the domestic leagues and governments, but one gets the feeling that those kinds of support are rather malleable, and whoever wins out in the end will have that support just the same. It does not benefit any domestic league to ban any of the Super League clubs from their own domestic competitions.
UEFA’s main threat against the power of these clubs is to ban them from the Champions League, which is a bit ironic since they’re looking to quit the Champions League anyway. But banning the three semifinalist from this year’s edition — PSG the only ones not in the breakaway group at the moment — would be a strong response indeed, assuming they have the legal power to do so. (The teams haven’t violated any actual competition rules, as far as we know.)
Quotes from a UEFA Executive Committee member named Jesper Møller have made the rounds, but it’s not at all clear if he’s talking about something he wants to see happen, hopes to see happen, or actually knows is going to happen.
“There must be one extraordinary executive committee meeting on Friday. I have an expectation that the 12 clubs will be thrown out. [Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea] are going out, and I expect that to happen on Friday, and then you have to see how to finish the Champions League.”
-Jesper Møller; source: DR via Google Translate
Guess we’ll find out Friday?
That should give us time to start looking at this situation more rationally as well. This didn’t just spring out of a vacuum, and the current situation is clearly seen as untenable for many teams, most of whom are already the power-brokers of the world’s club game.
The solution may not be The Super League. At least not yet and not in this form. But the cork’s been pulled and the genie’s truly out of the bottle now.
I hate the idea of a Super League. But Europe's domestic leagues are staggeringly unequal and therefore hugely uncompetitive. It will only get worse, and I don't see a solution other than the big clubs clearing off (and clearing off completely)https://t.co/RAdkWc99Yr— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) April 19, 2021