SportsEuropean Super League Collapse: Matters Arising

European Super League Collapse: Matters Arising


BEVERLY HILLS, May 28, (THEWILL) – As international football continues to deal with the fallout of the defunct European Super League, with the Union of European Football Associations opening disciplinary proceedings for a trio of clubs that refuse to rescind participation, Richard Masters, the Chief Executive of the English Premier League is calling for a “rebalancing” of European football to prevent a recurrence.

Masters addressed concerns from the failed Super League project and from recent UEFA competition reforms pushed through by the continent’s big clubs for the upcoming season.

THEWILL recalls that the “Big Six” clubs of the top flight football competition in England were founding members of the breakaway league which collapsed from the pressure of retribution from fans and the football establishment as the English clubs swiftly pulled out within 72 hours.


The origins of the idea to form a different League cannot be removed from the debate in Europe about how different continental competitions should look from the year 2024. Changes have been suggested even though UEFA has been traditionally slow in adopting them.

But some of these ideas, such as favouring a push for an increase in group-stage matches from six to 10 in a new “Swiss model” format and securing two qualification places based on past performance, made their way into the structure of the breakaway ESL and was a bone of contention for fans and UEFA as it was a measure which would clearly benefit the so-called top clubs even if they have a poor domestic campaign.

From the onset, the EPL opposed both those changes, but at the Club Advisory Platform (CAP) meeting of the European Leagues on Thursday, the EPL Chief, Masters stressed the need for reforms: “We need to look at the governance model within European football because it needs rebalancing in my view.

“It means that in the future when we talk about all of these really important things and solutions we need, is that all the people in this room have a stronger voice.

“So that’s leagues, the wider group of clubs, and also fans have a voice in the future of the game. That seems to me to be what needs to change, and that’s the only way you can bring the unity that Aleksander was talking about.”

What Masters referred to when he said “the unity that Aleksander was talking about” points to a video address given by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin to the CAP .

In that address the Slovenian said: “You can rest assured that UEFA is committed more than ever to supporting the entire football pyramid. We want to maximise passion, not profits. We want to lend a hand, not show a fist.

“All leagues, all clubs and all fans are equally important to holding the pyramid together. The smallest stone of the pyramid is of no less importance than the biggest.

“The big clubs do not become big in isolation. They needed to play all clubs to become victorious and establish their fame. This is the irony of the failed endeavour of the ill-fated Super League. They believed they had to knock out the podium on which they stand.”

Back at the Club Advisory Platform, Javier Tebas Medrano, the La Liga President, used the platform to criticise Gianni Infantino after it came out that the FIFA president met with the breakaway clubs but kept it hidden. Tebas said that was not in good faith as Infantino ought to have made he revealed any meetings he had with Super League clubs to UEFA and the affected competitions promptly.

Tebas upped the ante when he insisted that Infantino played a part in the discussions which ultimately led to the foundation of the Super League by 12 clubs last month. That was why when asked about it last week, the FIFA boss did not deny speaking to those clubs, though he settled for the previous response that he had not colluded with them.

For the President of Spain’s top flight, that amounted to a betrayal of Infantino’s first loyalty, which ought to be to the existing global institutions, who have always collaborated with FIFA through the years to keep football growing across the world.

Tebas clarified his thoughts on the subject: “Of course the president can talk to who he wants, and be with who he wants to talk about whatever. What we’re talking about is the football institutions and his loyalty.”

“If he is being shown a format of a Super League – and a closed Super League – as soon as he had finished meeting with those clubs the first thing he should have done was to ring the president of UEFA, and all the leagues that would have been affected by it.

“He shouldn’t have kept it secret.”

This development came about when, on Friday last week, at the FIFA Congress held at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Infantino was queried about his role in the Super League discussions by the PA news agency.

Infantino answered: “At FIFA it is my responsibility to hear, to meet, to discuss with football stakeholders – our member associations, leagues, our clubs, everyone: big, medium and small.

“To listen to some clubs and to speak with some clubs doesn’t mean in any way whatsoever that FIFA was behind, was colluding, was plotting, (on) any Super League project.”

That was what did not go down well with Tebas. Speaking further at the CAP, Tebas made a clarification: “I would like to say the Super League is dead, that it has come to an end. For me though, the Super League is still alive. The Super League is not just a competition format. The Super League is an ideology that started 20 years ago.”

However, he censured the originators of the now collapsed project when he said the Super League clubs had treated the leagues and other clubs like “stupid naive puppets” in the way they had behaved last month when they went public with the information of the project and added that he would “respect” any sanctions UEFA imposed on Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus over their recalcitrance.

He had strong words for the trio, whom he saw as “complete failures” when he said: “Their boat is half-sunk but they want to give us lessons on how to modernise football. Are they going to give us lessons on what modernising football is about, these three clubs? Or should I say these three main leaders of these clubs (Florentino Perez, Joan Laporta and Andrea Agnelli) .

“Do they think they are cleverer than we are? The fact that they have won a lot of titles does not mean that they are smarter than a lot of the leagues and a lot of the clubs in Europe.

“The fact that they’re a big club, it doesn’t mean that they know everything that is going on in football. That press release (when the league was founded) shows how ignorant they are.”

THEWILL recalls that in the second week of this month, the three clubs issued a joint statement sticking to the Super League, while claiming to be under “unacceptable” pressure and threats from all corners. The disciplinary recommendations at the ending of the proceedings could result in heavy and considerable penalties against Spanish titans Barca and Madrid and Italian heavyweights Juventus.

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