Sunday’s The Super League announcement has been met with an overwhelming, strong, and entirely emotional negative response thus far. That is to be expected, but it’s not something that will help us actually resolve the situation.
On Tuesday, with some calmer words, we appeared to be making some progress towards some sort of resolution.
At UEFA’s emergency meeting, the powers that be have reportedly decided not to ban the Super League teams from the rest of this year’s European competitions. According to ESPN’s sources, next week’s fixtures will go ahead as planned, with Chelsea taking on Real Madrid and Manchester City taking on PSG (who are one of the “good guys” here, hilariously enough) in the Champions League, and both Manchester United and Arsenal continuing their journeys in the Europa League.
While it would’ve made no actual sense to ban the teams, the move would’ve found plenty of popular support.
Meanwhile, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who came down in the strongest of terms against The Super League and its clubs yesterday, is now offering an olive branch and a way back from this brink. (It should also be noted that, as already mentioned yesterday, UEFA are also working on securing a €6 billion financing package, which would eclipse The Super League’s €4 billion starting capital. It is, of course, all about the money in the end.)
UEFA is preparing a counter-attack in the Super League. UEFA is working with english investment fund to come up with new LOC that would have a starting budget of 4.5 billion € but which could go up to 7 billion.— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) April 20, 2021
“Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake. Some will say it is greed, others (will say) disdain arrogance, flippancy or complete ignorance of England’s football culture. It does not matter. What does matter is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes. Come to your senses...”
-Aleksander Ceferin; source: AP via Detroit Free Press
Ceferin has targeted the six England-based clubs of the Dirty Dozen in an apparent divide and conquer strategy, and it might be working amid reports of increasing disunity in The Super League camp, especially among the Premier League contingent. Manchester City and Chelsea, the two clubs who apparently were last to join the six — reluctantly, to not be left behind, but still joined so... — are now reportedly having doubts.
According to the Guardian, the Premier League’s two Champions League semifinalists are “wavering” in their commitment, especially in light of the extreme backlash and as national governments and now FIFA as well are starting to apply some pressure. The Premier League have also released a new statement condemning The Super League after a meeting of the 14 non-SL teams today, though without any further action (i.e. they’re not kicking anyone out either).
“There is a lot to throw away for maybe a short-term financial gain of some [...] If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice. They are responsible for their choice. Concretely, this means either you’re in or you’re out. You cannot be half in or half out.”
-Gianni Infantino, FIFA president; source: Guardian
Chelsea’s own players are among those concerned, with Goal reporting that they met with club chairman Bruce Buck today to allay those fears. There are no further details provided in the report unfortunately, though presumably Buck reassured them somehow.
Chelsea are set to take on Brighton tonight, who will be wearing those amusing “earn it” shirts like Leeds United did against Liverpool. There’s also a fan protest going on outside the Bridge, as much as current pandemic conditions allow for one.