The actions of the 12 clubs who signed up to join the European Super League, which included Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea Tottenham and Liverpool, have had the football world in uproar over the past 72 hours.
The deceit displayed by those pulling the strings at the relevant clubs will mean that distrust will linger, even with all clubs having listened to their supporters and U-turned on their intent to participate in the competition.
UEFA, who should never be taking the moral high ground in any situation, realistically, are apparently prepared to do exactly that in wake of all this madness.
UEFA says the 12 founding ESL clubs WILL face consequences, the first will be “they will live with shame” with proper sanctions to come, the Vice President confirms. Several big clubs are asking the UEFA for sanctions for the 12.
— Mohamed Bouhafsi (@mohamedbouhafsi) April 21, 2021
It’s incredibly rich for UEFA to be talking about clubs feeling shameful, as if their conscience has been clean for a single day since their inception. But yes, the Big Six, and the others involved, ought to face retrospective punishment.
Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain were the three mega-powers who did not align themselves to be founding members of the now ill-fated European Super League.
Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Spurs have all formally withdrawn from the European Super League.
AMAZING. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/DdLqvhnxJX
— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) April 20, 2021
Premier League rebels apologised for Super League coup to appease fans
Even the apologies — on camera from Liverpool owner John Henry and in a letter from Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer — couldn’t placate anger that their clubs tried to split to form a largely closed European competition.
John W Henry’s message to Liverpool supporters. pic.twitter.com/pHW3RbOcKu
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 21, 2021
Under a weight of pressure from supporters, the government and some of their players, the Premier League’s Big Six withdrew from the breakaway Tuesday night, imploding the project as the Spanish and Italian elite clung on.
Joel Glazer has written an open apology letter to Manchester United supporters.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) April 21, 2021
“The cabal of billionaire owners overplayed their hand and their rapacious appetite for more united an unprecedented array of opponents,” the Football Supporters’ Association said.
The mutineers, who also included Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, didn’t just fail to consult their supporters. Even players and coaching staff at the Premier League champions were left in the dark before the announcement on Sunday that they were quitting UEFA’s Champions League structure to form the Super League.
Should the ‘big six’ be punished?
Speaking on Sky Sports on Tuesday, Graeme Souness argued that he doesn’t want to see the clubs punished as all it would do is punish the supporters:
🗣”Who are you punishing? If you punish the club you punish the fans.”
Graeme Souness does not want the fans to suffer for something that the owners brought to the table in regard to the ‘European Super League’ pic.twitter.com/0gFsjRpQ0I
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) April 20, 2021
Super League collapse ‘not a victory for fans’, John Barnes insists
Liverpool legend John Barnes has insisted that the collapse of the European Super League should not be considered a victory for football fans, who will continue to be exploited by the “same old faces”.
The withdrawals came after mass criticism of the proposal from fans, pundits, players and managers, including James Milner and Pep Guardiola.
Protests at Chelsea last night were followed by an apology from Liverpool owner John W Henry, but former Reds midfielder Barnes has said that the withdrawals had little to do with fan condemnation.
As 6 English clubs pull out of the European Super League, ex footballer John Barnes says it is not a victory for the fans: “The clubs are in this situation because of players’ salaries. Will they be capped to help fans buy tickets? I don’t think so.”@JuliaHB1 | @officialbarnesy pic.twitter.com/TMW2FH97hS
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) April 21, 2021
Barnes told talkRADIO: “Let’s not make any mistake about what this was about. This was about 12 groups who wanted the power to exploit football.”
He went on to describe how UEFA and the Premier League only criticised the Super League to “hold on to power” and claimed that “football became a business” since the Premier League was founded in 1992, taking away from its working-class fans long before any plans of a Super League.
The ex-England international went on: “It’s just a question of who’s going to exploit them [the fans]. Now that the ESL is not going to exploit them, it will be the same old guard – FIFA, UEFA, the Premier League and the big clubs.
“All of those Chelsea fans outside the ground, how many of them do you think can get tickets for the game? How many can afford the £150 shirts? How many can afford their Sky subscriptions?
“So it’s still about exploitation of the fans. It’s just a question of who can exploit them. It will be the same old faces.”