The footballing world was sent into a state of shock on Sunday when it was announced that plans for a new European Super League were pressing forward as soon as its possible for its governing board, spearheaded by Florentino Perez. The announcement was met with a bevvy of justified backlash as we now seem to be in a sort of standoff between clubs, the players, managers, the owners, and most importantly, the fans.
One would be hard pressed to find any pundits, players, managers, or fans alike that are in favor of this new Super League. In fact, the past twenty four hours has seen the exact opposite take place. Most notably, Gary Neville’s rant on Sky Sport alongside Jamie Carragher has been heavily circulated on social media as well Rio Ferdinand’s on BT Sport when he was doing punditry work on Sunday for the FA Cup semifinal between Leicester City and Southampton at Wembley Stadium.
Most recently, the decision to press forward with the Super League was referred to as a “spit in the face” by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham, and Chelsea are the twelve founding clubs thus far, with more clubs slated to be invited in later. It’s been suggested that consequences for clubs and players participating in the new league could include a ban from the UEFA Champions League and Europa League as well as players not being able to represent your country in international competition. Clubs could also be banned from competing in domestic cup competitions if they’re in the Super League.
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and RB Leipzig have rejected invitations to the newly founded Super League, thanks largely to the Bundesliga’s 50+1 rule that states at least 49% of the club’s shares have to be owned by the fans. Earlier today, this was taken a step further as the DFL and DFB put out a joint statement expressing their disapproval of the new league and everything it stands for (DFL).
The statement in full:
German football views the establishment of a “European Super League” with great trepidation. We stand in solidarity with UEFA and President Aleksander Ceferin. Concurrently, we support all countermeasures announced by FIFA, UEFA, and the national leagues/associations concerned. We say this fully aware that this could affect the nomination of German national team players under contract with the ‘Super League’ Clubs.
At stake is none other than football’s status as a game of the people, threatened by a change of course the likes of which we’ve never seen before. We must not allow the financial interests of a few top clubs in England, Spain, and Italy to abolish existing historic structures. Football in Europe thrives on the fact that it is theoretically possible for any club to compete with the best on the continent. This dream must not be replaced by an essentially closed society. National leagues are the basis for football, its popularity, and its positive influence on communities. It is irresponsible and unacceptable to jeopardize the cooperation that has evolved over time. It is this cooperation that has allowed the top clubs to grow over the past decades. On this point we find ourselves in agreement with the overwhelming majority of clubs, leagues, and associations across Europe. Fans across Europe are also raising their voices in support of this stance.
Against this backdrop, it was absolutely right for the UEFA executive committee unanimously pass the planned reform of European club competitions today. This reform served as an invitation for all clubs to come together under UEFA’s aegis, and was a painful compromise in many respects. This offer was rejected by obvious [financial] motivations. Football—at every level—has always held strong when joint solutions have been sought. The DFL and DFB shall do their utmost to achieve this, now more so than ever before. Particularly in light of the global COVID crisis, it should be clear what values football stands for: solidarity over egoism.