European Super League live updates: UEFA sanctions, Real Madrid, Juventus, Florentino Pérez, reactions
European Super League: live | 23 April 2021
European Super League: headlines
- "Either we do something soon or a lot of clubs will go bankrupt": Florentino Pérez speaks to AS. full interview here
- UEFA decide on NO 'immediate' sanctions for the 12 breakaway clubs
- ESL clubs may have to pay €300m fine if they break contract
- JP Morgan issue statement: "We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed" (full story)
- Man City's Gündogan concerned over new UCL format
- Man Utd's Ed Woodward said to have resigned as he disagreed with owners decision to join Super League
- European Super League chairman Florentino Pérez says all 12 clubs are still involved (or at least they haven't legally broken the contract they signed) and that the Super League, or some other model, is necessary to save football, which is dying. (watch)
- Only Real Madrid & FC Barcelona officially remain in the breakaway proposal as Juve, Milan, Atleti and Inter withdraw after all six English clubs said they were leaving yesterday. (full story)
Related ESL news:
"Either we do something soon or a lot of clubs will go bankrupt"
In an exclusive interview in AS, Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid president, defends his project for European football: “Only clubs backed by a state or a multimillionaire will survive”.
Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez gave an exclusive interview to AS to talk about the European Super League project. This is a brief advance of the full interview, to be published on Saturday.
Arsenal fan suffers head injury and 'broken leg during ESL protests
An Arsenal fan was taken to hospital with head injuries and a broken leg after falling from the top of the Emirates Stadium ticket office as supporters congregated in protest of the club's agreement to be involved in the Super League.
Several hundred Gunners supporters turned up at the stadium calling for owner Stan Kroenke to sell the club.
Juventus' Danilo, not happy with UEFA's attitude
Juventus full-back Danilo didn't hold back when asked for his opinion on recent events between UEFA and the breakaway Super League clubs. The Brazilian told Sky Sports, "If they were really concerned about the players, they wouldn't have forced us to travel so much during the pandemic. I don't like threats. As a player, that was not very nice to hear. I think that if 12 clubs have created this project, it's because football needs change. I don't know if it is the right thing to do, but I understand the need to talk about changes that can save football".
"We all make mistakes, let's move on" - Klopp
More words from Jürgen Klopp on the Super League. The Reds manager insists that clubs owners "are not bad people" and now it's time to look forward and move on.
Harry Kane, glad the Super League has been dumped
Spurs striker Harry Kane says he is right behind the fans when it comes to rejecting the Super League. Speaking to Sky Sports this afternoon, Kane said, "I liked the outcome of it. I didn’t quite like the idea of it if I’m honest. I can totally understand the fans’ point of view. From a lot of people’s point of view, it wasn’t quite right. It’s obviously been ended for now. I’m proud of the fans for sticking up for what they believe it. I am glad of what the outcome has become".
David Moyes: "Football is ‘the people’s game, it’s not for billionaires"
West Ham manager David Moyes was asked his thoughts about the Super League project and like others, believes that the sport should be for everyone. "I've been really disappointed with the clubs who got involved in it. But I think if anything the people have stood up, it's the people's game, it's not for billionaires, it's for everybody and the people have shown what it means. I think the supporters have been a credit in the way they've gone about it. Obviously we don't want big bad demonstrations, but they've been the ones who have stood up and said we're not having this. It shows the power of the people and it's a great thing that football hasn't changed as dramatically as some people would have liked it to," he said.
UEFA doesn't care about the players - Guardiola
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hit out at UEFA's decision to expand the format of the Champions League to 36 teams, and says that the organization doesn't care about players' welfare. With even more games to be added to an already packed fixtures calendar from 2024, Guardiola feels that the changing the tournament is overkill.
"Every time it’s the same. All the managers and players ask for better quality and the football world goes for quantity - but we are not in charge of that. We have to ask UEFA and FIFA to extend the year, maybe have 400 days a year. Maybe then they can find a solution on that," the City boss said in today's press conference.
UEFA's Executive Committee held a video conference today to discuss some of the final details relating to this summer's rescheduled Euro 2020 but members also dealt with the issue of the European Super League and whether to punish the project's ringleaders, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Liverpool fans hung banners outside Anfield on Monday on learning of the club's involvement in the European Super League, which supporters are staunchly against. The club later withdrew from the ESL and issued an apology to manager Jürgen Klopp, the players, fans and club employees.
Klopp: "The ESL is all about money, it's a joke"
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp admitted after Monday's league game at Leeds that he had "absolutely no idea" about the European Super League or the club's plans to join it. He later received an apology from owner John W. Henry after a fierce backlash to the project from fans.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow's clash with Newcastle, Klopp underlined his stance on the ESL. “We all wanted to have the Super League away, but in the same moment it happened that now the new Champions League is out there. Who read this concept properly and said: ‘oh, that’s perfect?’ Who tells me now that’s not about money? It’s a joke. I said before with the Nations League - even more games. I said before when FIFA wanted the Club World Cup. And they don’t ask. They just wanted to introduce it. What’s the reason for that? Money... These kind of things happen constantly. But in the end, we always could at least in our moments have the perfect moment for us. Playing football, enjoying the game as much has we can. And that has never changed so far. And I only want to make sure that it does not change," he said.
Tüchel: "The Super League has been distracting"
Chelsea manager Thomas Tüchel gave his thoughts on this week's bombshell concerning the European Super League. His team are away at West Ham in the Premier League tomorrow evening then take on Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final first leg next week. “Yes it has been distracting, but it’s the owner’s club, it’s not my club. I’m part of the club, but it’s the owner and the club’s decision, and now they change that decision," he told reporters. "There’s no need to apologise to me directly, my job is to adapt to the circumstances. And were we distracted? Yes, clearly. Me personally, I arrived in a state of mind on Tuesday at the stadium that was clearly not the mindset that I normally arrive in, for a match. But that’s already in the past, and like I said, I don’t think they need to apologise to me.”
Klopp on calls for Liverpool owners to leave club: "I prefer to deal with problems with people I know"
Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp says Fenway Sports Group got it wrong over their decision to join the European Super League project, but has rejected calls for the club’s owners to end their association with the Premier League champions.
"I have known the owners for six years,” Klopp told reporters ahead of Liverpool’s league game against Newcastle United on Saturday, per The Athletic’s James Pearce. “I know there were some moments when they might not have made the right decision, this time for sure. But it doesn't change things for me, I prefer to deal with problems with people I know."
Klopp added that he hasn’t spoken to FSG founder John W Henry, Liverpool's principal owner, since the debacle of the European Super League announcement. "I don't think it's necessary,” he said. “I was mentioned in the apology and so was the team. That was personal enough for me."
UEFA revenue distribution
On the back of this week's discussions over the financial split across European competitions, the International Centre for Sports Studies has provided this neat graphic showing the breakdown.
We definitely need to keep asking the questions over how these huge amounts of money can be better managed and distributed for a healthier and more beautiful game.
Despite the rumours, there was always little chance that UEFA would take the complicated decision to expel Real Madrid from this season's Champions League competition.
Therefore, a reminder of when the semi-finals will be played. No doubt Chelsea fans will have a warm welcome for Florentino Pérez on 5 May.
'So-called Super League'
As Tancredi points out here, the latest brief from UEFA doesn't give full acknowledgement of the breakway plans.
Super League clubs escape UEFA sanctions
On the back of the message posted by the ECA below, statement coming out of the ExCo meeting confirms that the 12 clubs that were looking to breakaway from UEFA's Champions League will NOT face any sporting punishment at the present time.
This will mean we will indeed see Real Madrid face Chelsea in the UCL semi-final, and Man City vs PSG.
It doesn't, however, rule out further sanctions so let's see...
Super League clubs risk €300 million for exit
According to Spanish media outlet Vozpópuli, Florentino Pérez may have lost his battle to create the European Super League of his dreams, but possibly not the war.
As the report goes, which cites 'sources close to the project', breaking the contract the clubs signed into would cost them around €300 million.
Although we have read or heard the statements of intent to leave the ESL from most of the clubs onvolved in its almost founding, none of them have formally left as far as we know.
JP Morgan issues Super League statement
“We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future.
"We will learn from this.”
It's amazing how some bad press can affect the most powerful. Some people asking why these huge organisations didn't use their vast resources to carry out some research first before they tried to steamroll through their plans.
UEFA ExCo is go
As Simon Evans reports, the meeting has started and eyes and ears are open to hear what comes from it.
On the face of it, sanctions for at least some of the clubs (although why not all to varying degrees) seems the only appropriate action. But relationships are strong, and a future together is still needed to be fixed.
Oh, to be a fly on that well varnished wall today.
UEFA pick Sevilla
In reference to the previous post, Richard Martin is reporitng for Reuters that Seville will take the place of Bilbao for the Euros this summer.
For anyone who has been to those two (wonderful) Spanish cities in the summer, the temperature difference is somewhat different.
One year UCL ban for Madrid and Juve?
Ahead of today's meeting, and as we previously reported, there is a clear split of opinions within UEFA over a potential one-year ban for Real Madrid and Juventus in next season's Champions League.
There are those members who are calling for the maximum punishment and advocate leaving them without European competitions for a year, and there are those who want to try to appease tempers and push for some type of pardon.
This topic, understandably, wasn't meant to be on the table for the Executive Committee meeting that was originally planned to agree the final venues for the European Championship this summer.
KPMG analyse Super League context
The big five leagues in Europe have been pulling away from the rest in terms of financial muscle, something that has been getting more and more obvious.
But rather than managing their huge revenues responsibly, many of them have put themselves at risk, hence the idea for The Super League.
Will we start to see a more measured approach to transfers and wages now? Will fans accept their club saying, 'sorry, can't afford new players'? Interesting times ahead...
Post ESL fiasco, can fans take back control?
Tariq has been monitoring the situation closely this week and here highlights the Liverpool fan group @SpionKop1906 who are not buying John W Henry's apology.
They instead want urgent talks and fan representation on the club’s board following what they say have been 'a decade of missteps by the owners'.
These owners cannot have imagined their 'genius' move backfiring so spectacularly.
Earn it! New UCL format comes under scrutiny
With the proposed European Super League prevented from leaving its elitist womb, the focus now pivots.
UEFA are expected to come under pressure from potentially more empowered leagues and the new-look ECA to scrap Champions League coefficient places from 2024.
As Kieran Maguire highlights, if not, we run the risk of non-earned places being handed to the chosen few.
Tottenham, the Super League and Mou...
Jack Pitt-Brooke looks at a less-than-quiet week for Spurs' boss Daniel Levy.
'This could have been one of the greatest weeks of Daniel Levy’s Tottenham Hotspur tenure, and maybe it still will be, but on Wednesday afternoon there were dozens of fans outside the house that Levy built calling for him to leave.
It was not a protest on the scale of what we saw at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday, but it was not nothing either. The fans outside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium were furious with Levy’s brief embrace of the Super League, a 48-hour coup against the fabric of football in which the rebels, including Levy, folded in humiliation on Tuesday night.
Gündogan: new UCL format is "lesser of two evils"
Manchester City's Ilkay Gündogan hopes that players won't suffer from the increased workload after changes were made to the Champions League by UEFA with the competition expanding to 36 teams from 2024.
"With all the Super League stuff going on... can we please also speak about the new Champions League format? More and more and more games, is no one thinking about us players?
"The new UCL format is just the lesser of the two evils in comparison to the Super League" Gundogan tweeted."The UCL format right now works great and that is why it's the most popular club competition in the world – for us players and for the fans."
Simeone applauds Atlético decision to quit ESL
Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone admitted that he was relieved that the club decided to withdraw from the European Super League. Speaking to reporters after this evening's 2-0 win over Huesca which puts his team back at the top of the table, El Cholo spoke.
"The other day, we discussed it with those who made the decision and we put forward our doubts.
"I think it's a great gesture from the club towards the fans and also for us, as we confront the remainder of the season."
Real Madrid and Juventus could face stiff punishment from UEFA for being the ringleaders behind the split from UEFA.
Legally, it looks unlikely that Los Blancos could be kicked out of the Champions League, but there is a possibility that they might be banned from taking part in next season's tournament.
Super League 'is dead' says LaLiga chief Tebas
The proposed European Super League "is dead" without the support of teams in England and Germany, LaLiga president Javier Tebas said on Thursday. Tebas also called for the biggest clubs to reduce their spending to combat their current financial problems.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted the project is not finished and could be presented again in a different format but Tebas, a long-time opponent of the Super League, said it was effectively doomed. "The Super League is dead without the English and German teams, let's be realistic, it's dead," Tebas told a virtual news conference on Thursday. "They cannot create the project they want to create. After 20 years of threatening a Super League, finally this threat came true and in 48 hours it has disappeared."
Perez said the Super League was urgently needed to prevent top clubs from going bankrupt but Tebas said the situation was not as extreme as the Real Madrid president suggests. "This isn't a problem of revenue, these clubs need to reduce their expenses. We don't need to keep increasing earnings so that players can have seven Ferraris instead of six," he said. "This is a problem of distribution. My position is very clear, we don't need to increase revenues, we just need to manage expenses. We are not ruined financially and we don't have to take any exceptional measures."
Barcelona president Joan Laporta finally broke his silence about the European Super League project headed by Florentino Pérez, saying that he is totally in favour of a new, elite competition.
Super League collapse not likely to be the last attempt by the elite
The spectacular collapse of the proposed European Super League may feel like a victory for supporters who protested against the plans across the continent and outside English Premier League grounds but the top clubs are already plotting their next move.
Back in 2019 a much-maligned proposal to overhaul the Champions League into a 32-team division nearly saw the light of day and then came plans for big changes to the structure and finances of English football last year. 'Project Big Picture' was a plan put forward by Liverpool and Manchester United to increase funding for the 72 English Football League (EFL) teams but also included special voting rights for the biggest sides in the top flight. That project to restructure the English game and the Champions League reform plan were rejected after being widely criticised for favouring the big clubs, with Sunday's Super League announcement taking that a step further.
"The Super League is just one way forward," Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli told Reuters on Wednesday of the plans involving 12 of Europe's top football clubs which included United and Real Madrid. PSG and Bayern Munich did not take part. "I think what was planned in 2019 was another way forward. If they (European soccer's governing body UEFA) would have stuck by their plan they presented rather than chickening out, we probably would not have had this conversation today. I still believe that the Super League project would have brought that stability. Football, it's an economic industry. And we must take that into account."
Last week, 17 fan groups from 14 clubs across Europe wrote an open letter accusing UEFA of facilitating a 'blatant power grab' over reforms to the Champions League from the 2024/25 season. It got lost in the Super League furore, but UEFA's plan to revamp its elite competition, despite the fan group discontent, was approved by its executive committee.
Three times big changes to the game have been proposed, and three times they have fallen flat. The big clubs will come again, showing they do not need anyone's backing to push ahead with their vision for the future of football. But, up against determined resistance from organisations who have plenty of influence, despite what the top clubs may think, another breakaway league proposal, or something similar, must be better thought out and able to withstand opposition.
“Absolutely sickening” - fans give their verdict on ESL
In this video, supporters of the clubs who sought to join the European Super League give their verdicts on the seemingly failed breakaway plans.
“The greedy men will never win - they will never take the clubs that we very much love away from us,” one fan said. “I think it’s absolutely sickening, absolutely sickening what these people have tried to do to us.”
Another fan said: “It’s all about money. It’s never been about us […] and it’s just about lining pockets of those above, really.”
Fans’ reactions in full:
The Super League: website update
We have been keeping a close eye on the communications regarding the league and will continue to do so today.
At the time of writing, the official website of the European Super League remains unchanged.
The logos of all 12 clubs are still showing, and there is no mention of the backtracking 10.
ESL: the clubs involved
A reminder that the clubs that signed up to this breakaway league are:
England (those that have since u-turned):
Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City & Manchester United
Juventus, Inter & AC Milan (since u-turned)
Atlético Madrid (since u-turned), FC Barcelona & Real Madrid
For various reasons, there were no founding representatives from Europe's two other big leagues in Germany and France, notably meaning no Bayern Munich or PSG.
European Super League: welcome
Hello and welcome to our rolling live feed on Friday 23 April as we bring you all the latest news, reaction and fallout from Sunday night's seismic announcement that 12 clubs were set to form a breakaway European Super League.
That's right, it ain't over yet!
After the backlash - from fans, players, managers, governing bodies and politicians - Tuesday saw the six English clubs reverse their decision to join up, and this was followed on Wednesday by four more, the three Italian sides and Atlético Madrid.
That, at least in an official capacity, continues to leave only Real Madrid and Barcelona in the newly proposed ESL.