It was ostensibly created to “save football” but has been scrapped after the surrounding controversy threatened instead to tear it apart.
Plans for a European Super League comprising 12 soccer teams were ditched on Tuesday after massive pushback by everyone from grassroots fans to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The venture lasted barely two days after being announced on Sunday, when Europe’s top dozen soccer clubs said they would form a breakaway league with their own competitive structure, in a deal worth about $6.4 billion.
Six of the most prominent English Premier League teams agreed to play ball with the newly formed European Super League. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham have joined up with AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus (from Italy’s Serie A) and Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid (from Spain’s La Liga). This would have brought top clubs from three of Europe’s top leagues into the new mid-week tournament.
The clubs involved were set to meet on Tuesday night to formally dissolve the controversial plan, reported TalkSport. This came after the Chelsea and Manchester City clubs pulled out.
The move came after Chelsea fans mounted a huge protest before the Premier League game against Brighton, with scores of fans chanting, setting off blue smoke bombs and marching around the grounds outside Stamford Bridge, reported TalkSport.
The feeling was that these breakaway clubs were “fueled purely by greed,” Union of European Football Associations president Aleksander Ceferin told reporters on Monday, according to CNN.
“Super League is only about money, money of the dozen,” Ceferin said of those teams’ billionaire owners. “I don’t want to call them dirty dozen — but UEFA is about developing football, and about financing what should be financed, that our football, our culture, survives — and some people don’t understand it.”
The new structure of the European Super League would have resembled Major League Baseball or the National Football League in the U.S. But that, according to CNN’s analysis, would clash with European football traditions rooted in industrial working-class neighborhoods, “where even the poorest clubs are promoted to top leagues if they win and no amount of money can protect rich teams from relegation if they lose,” CNN’s Charles Riley wrote.
Even some of the rich pushed back, as Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, expressed his concern via Twitter.
“Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community — from the top level to the grassroots — and the values of competition and fairness at its core,” William wrote. “I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love.”