By Nikolas Sargeant
Barely a few days after the announcement that 12 of the world’s leading soccer clubs were opting to form their own European Super League, it appears that the plan is beginning to come apart at the seams.
All six English Premier League clubs involved in the proposal have since announced their intentions to withdraw from the plan.
There is also current speculation afoot that Atletico Madrid will follow suit and bow out of the Super League.
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The dozen clubs involved in this proposed plan include three of the four teams in the semifinals of the 2021 UEFA Champions League – Manchester City, Chelsea, and Real Madrid. Checking in with the leading online sportsbooks via CanadaSportsBetting.ca, Manchester City is the +125 favorite to win their first Champions League title.
Super League Details
The 12 sides that announced their involvement in the Super League plan include Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur along with Chelsea and Manchester City from the English Premier League. Spanish club Barcelona would be joining Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in joining the Super League, as well as Italian clubs AC Milan, Juventus, and Inter Milan.
These 12 clubs have won 39 UEFA Champions League titles between them.
The plan would be that these 12 clubs would play midweek games in the Super League, thus enabling them to continue to compete within their domestic leagues.
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” Real Madrid president and Super League Chairman Florentino Pèrez said in a statement. “Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”
EPL Sides Bow Out
Manchester City was the first of the six EPL squads to announce their intentions to drop out of the Super League proposal.
“Manchester City Football Club can confirm that it has formally enacted the procedures to withdraw from the group developing plans for a European Super League,” the club announced in a one-sentence statement on their web page.
That set off a chain reaction and soon, the other five EPL clubs followed suit and announced plans to step back from the Super League proposal, the BBC reported.
Liverpool indicated that their involvement in the proposed Super League has been discontinued. Arsenal issued an apology, saying that the club had made a mistake and had determined after listening to the wider football community that withdrawal was the best course of action.
Manchester United suggested its decision to pull out came after listening carefully to reactions from fans, the UK government, and other key stakeholders. According to Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, the club regretted the anxiety and upset that the plan was causing to the sport as a whole.
Approximately 1,000 Chelsea fans gathered outside the club’s Stamford Bridge ground to protest the Super League plan.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was an outspoken critic of the idea, especially the thought that no teams would be facing the threat of relegation from the Super League.
“It is not a sport where the relation between the effort and the success, the effort, and the reward, does not exist,” Guardiola told The Guardian. “It is not a sport where success is already guaranteed or it is not a sport when it doesn’t matter where you lose.”
Governing Bodies Quick To React
Both of soccer’s major governing bodies were quick to react to the news of the proposed Super League, stating in no uncertain terms their opposition to the plan.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said in a statement.
Actions that could be taken if the Super League plans to go forward could include the banning of Super League clubs from all domestic, European, and world competitions. It’s also possible that players on these Super League clubs would be prohibited from representing their country internationally.
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening,” UEFA’s statement continued. “Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.”
In essence, the SL would be viewed as an outlaw league.
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