Florentino Perez looked at the images from Tuesday night’s protest outside Stamford Bridge, and immediately deduced that no more than 40 people were involved and that they were all clearly paid UEFA lackeys bussed in from wherever lackeys get bussed in from.
So I would like to personally congratulate the thousands of Chelsea fans for acquiring gainful employment — in this economy?! — with European football’s governing body. Maybe we can push for more meaningful change from the inside. True change starts from within!
“Who brought those Chelsea fans to protest? There were only 40 Chelsea fans [to begin with], and I could tell who brought them… just like here someone gave Cadiz jerseys [against the Super League].”
Cádiz lost 3-0 to Real Madrid yesterday, but just like teams in England who had faced Super League clubs this week, wore shirts during warm-up in protest as well, drawing Perez’s ire.
Conspiracies aside, plus ignoring his disdain towards younger fans and smaller clubs, the Real Madrid president did admit in his latest televised bluster that the Super League is dead, at least for now.
“The Super League poject is now in stand-by, I can confirm. Juventus and AC Milan have not left the Super League. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan are still in talks to find solutions. If this project didn’t work, another one will. Remember: all the 12 clubs have signed a binding contract.”
Rumors about a potential lawsuit form whatever remains of The Super League against its former members seems about as likely as UEFA handing out massive punishments to the returning humbled and shamed teams, though Perez isn’t likely to give this up without a fight. After all, he confirmed that these talk have been going on for about three years — further weakening Chelsea’s excuses — and eventually something will have to be done.
Whisper it softly, but he’s not wrong about some of these things, such as the Super League not necessarily killing the domestic game and more pertinently, that reform is needed at UEFA, at multiple levels.
“I am a bit sad, disappointed. We have been working three years on this project [...] We are just working on saving football, after this pandemic. [...] We have worked very hard on something that would satisfy everyone — and we did expect such a response.”
What Perez clearly didn’t expect was the Premier League’s response, where one of the six got cold feet — under pressure from all corners, political, financial, societal, sporting — and got the dominoes falling. He doesn’t name names, but based on previous reporting, it’s either Chelsea or Manchester City who blinked first and beat a hasty retreat.
“There was someone in the English six clubs who did not have much interest. That started to affect the others, there was fear. One of the English clubs was never really convinced.
“There was a campaign, totally manipulated, that we were going to finish the national leagues. That we were ending football, it was terrible. But we were working for football to survive. There are people with privileges who do not want to lose them, and are willing to run clubs, although when the clubs are ruined they will lose their privileges.”
“The English clubs tried to do something, but they were being told they were killing football. But there is no other solution, than the Super League. Or somebody invents something else.
“They are leaving due to UEFA putting on a show, which surprised me. I don’t want to get into it with the UEFA president, but he needs to be able to talk. It was like we had thrown an atomic bomb. They did not let us explain, as they did not want anything to change.”
UEFA have got the power, so obviously they won’t want to willingly lose that. It’s not about the good of the game, it’s about power and money. As usual.
With a revamped Champions League arriving in 2024, more money on tap, and increased participation, UEFA are working towards a soft-Super League anyway. Baby steps is how to you get beyond the strong, immediate, emotional negative response.