It's hardly been 24 hours since news broke of the proposed creation of a European soccer super league—aptly named the Super League—but fierce reactions continue to trickle in from around the world in soccer.
The facts remain the same: Twelve of Europe's biggest clubs have signed on as founding teams who will remain permanent members. They include Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham from England; Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid from Spain; and Juventus, AC Milan and Inter from Italy. While opening five spots for yearly qualification, the Super League intends to add three more founding members.
The Super League would split the teams into two groups of 10 with the top three clubs from each group advancing to the quarterfinals. Those finishing fourth and fifth in their respective groups would be involved in a playoff to complete the quarterfinal slate. Each of the 15 members will get a share of least 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion)
FIFA has previously threatened to ban players who competed in an unsanctioned league like the Super League from the World Cup. After ratifying a new 36-team Champions League that would start in 2024, UEFA is trying to muster the legal backing to to ban the defecting clubs and players from competing in its tournaments, which includes the current edition of Champions League, Europa League and this summer's 2020 Euros.
Regardless, the announcement has shaken European soccer to its core, and it's a debate that is far from over. Here's what some of European soccer's chief stakeholders are saying:
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin:
"We didn't know we had snakes working close to us, but now we know. Super League is only about money, money of the dozen, 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. ... I have seen many things in my life, I was a criminal lawyer for 24 years. I've seen many people. I've never seen anyone like that.
"If I start with [Manchester United chief executive] Ed Woodward, but he called me last Thursday, saying that he's very satisfied with reforms and he fully supports them. Obviously he already signed something else.
"[Juventus president Andrea Agnelli is] probably the biggest disappointment of all. I don't want to be too personal, but I have never seen a person who lied so many times as persistently as he did. I spoke to him on Saturday and he said these were only rumours, nothing going on. Then he turned off the phone. Greediness is so strong that all the human values evaporate. It's always good to know in life, who is who."
"Against this background, FIFA can only express its disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles."
"The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid. Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream."
DfB (German FA):
"We stand in solidarity with UEFA and its president Aleksander Ceferin. We also support the countermeasures announced by FIFA and UEFA, as well as the affected national leagues and associations. We are aware that these would have consequences on us calling up German players who are under contract at Super League clubs.
"... Football in Europe lives by the fact that it is theoretically possible for every club to reach a competition where they can pit themselves against the best in the continent. This dream cannot be replaced by an almost closed-off organization."
Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge:
"FC Bayern welcomes the reforms of the Champions League because we believe they are the right step to take for the development of European football.
"... I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as result of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather, all clubs in Europe should work in solidarity to ensure that the cost structure, especially players' salaries and agents' fees, are brought in line with revenues, to make all of European football more rational."
Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick:
"I back the club's statement and Dortmund's statement. It would not be good for European football."
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel:
"I'm here to be in the hardest competition. That's why I came here, that's what I love, to play in the toughest competitions in Europe. That's why I'm at Chelsea.
"... I'm part of this club. I want to play these hard competitions and I trust my club to make the right decisions. It's too early to judge everything. Everybody has to play his role and my role is to be a coach and to be focused."
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone:
"We, the coaches, are ready to coach the clubs. I have no doubt that the club will make the best decision for what is best for the future of the club."
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football," Ferguson told Reuters. "Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest."
Real Madrid president and Super League chairman Florentino Pérez:
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. 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.”
Juventus president, Super League vice-chairman Andrea Agnelli:
“We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”
Manchester City club statement:
"The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.
"The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid."
Liverpool fan group Spion Kop 1906:
"We, along with other groups involved in flags, will be removing our flags from The Kop. We feel we can no longer give our support to a club which puts financial greed above integrity of the game."
Leeds forward Patrick Bamford:
"I haven't seen one football fan who is happy about the decision and football is ultimately for the fans. ... It's amazing all the opera that comes into the game when it's someone's that's being hurt. It's a shame it's not like that for other things going on at the minute, like racism."
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