In a few years, we will no doubt cite it, depending on the point of view defended, as the craziest night or, on the contrary, that of the return to reason, in any case the most absurd in the history of European football. Between the speech of the president of Fifa specifying, Tuesday 20 in the morning, the threats of exclusion of the factious clubs and their players and the first announcement, around 11 p.m., of the renunciation of Manchester City, leading in the wake of the other English clubs , barely a dozen hours have passed.
It took one or two more for other British clubs to follow suit. And two more for the Super League council, led by the bosses of Real Madrid and Juventus de Turin, to announce in the middle of the night, around 3 a.m. on Wednesday 21 that he was going “Reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project”. In the morning, Atlético Madrid and Inter Milan communicated their withdrawal from the project. Finally, AC Milan announced in the middle of the day to take note of the rejection of the Super League by the supporters
What happened to make this closed European Super League, reserved for the wealthiest clubs and a few occasional guests, implode so quickly? As for official reactions, the charge was immediate and brutal. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin sounded the alarm, uttering very harsh words (“Snakes”, “Greedy traitors” ) with regard to the factions. He was assisted by his colleague from Fifa who was very clear. “Either you are inside or you are outside”, said Gianni Infantino. Speeches supported by a large part of the sports movement and European political powers, Emmanuel Macron and Boris Johnson in the lead.
The decisive words of Pepe Guardiola
But it is on another front that is much more sensitive in the eyes of football decision-makers that the battle has been played out. Many players and former players in the historic English league, the main provider of the Super League with six clubs, have stood up against the project. The Liverpool players have issued a very critical statement. And the formula “Sport is not a sport when the relationship between effort and success, effort and reward does not exist” of Pep Guardiola, famous coach of Manchester City, one of the most respected personalities in the world of football, hit the mark.
There is no doubt that the technician had taken care to ensure the blank check of his boss, the Emirati Khaldoon Al Mubarak, owner of the Mancunian club, currently leader of the Premier League. For most of the shareholders from the Gulf who have got their hands on major European clubs, the purely financial aspect comes after the image benefit of owning a great team. And this image threatened to be tarnished by the Super League project, to which the prudent Paris SG, property of a Qatari background, had taken care not to join.
After Manchester City, the American shareholders of Liverpool and Manchester United had to judge that the game was no longer worth the candle in the face of the opposition of their main targets, the supporters. Because it is they, potential viewers of these matches between oneself, buyers of shirts and derivative products, who have undoubtedly tipped the English balance. Social networks buzzed all Monday and Tuesday with furious comments. A demonstration of supporters had been organized in front of the gates of the Chelsea stadium, to put pressure on the owners of the London club.
UEFA president calls for reconciliation
What can happen now? Will the four clubs remaining in the Super League maintain a modified form of their project? The next to leave the ship could be FC Barcelona, owned by its Socios (shareholders), if we are to believe the statements of its famous captain Gerard Piqué: “Football belongs to the fans “.
→ MAINTENANCE. Father Bruno Sautereau: “The values of money prevail over those of sport”
Will they go back and be satisfied with the renewed form of the Champions League unveiled on Monday 20? It appears that UEFA officials are keen to put out the fire as soon as possible. Its president Aleksander Ceferin stated in a statement on Tuesday 21 the wish to “Rebuild unity” European football and “To move forward together”.