The battle for control of the world’s billion-dollar economy – a battle that The New York Times’ Rory Smith called on Friday Sunday-Tuesday War – started with rumors of a new blockbuster tournament, then exploded with gossip about lies, deceit and betrayal; promote street protest in some countries; and create threats of official government action and sports excommunication in many others.
And then it all ended, just two days after the news broke, with a series of startling reversals by half of the member clubs.
If you weren’t paying attention, you missed out a bit. This is a summary.
The idea of a super game by Europe’s top teams has been discussed for decades, but never the details and concrete plans emerged on Sunday morning.
After months of secret negotiations, the breakaway teams – including some of the biggest, richest and most famous teams in world sport – confirmed that they were forming a new, undivided league football’s centuries-old league system and the Continent’s organizational structure. They claim that the football economy is no longer for them and that their new project will create a wave of wealth to every level of the game.
European officials, national leagues and eliminated clubs – not to mention the fans, who smelled greed as the main driving force – withdrew.
The league they have agreed to form – a coalition of top clubs closer to closed leagues like the NFL and NBA than football’s current model – will bring about a significant restructuring. European football’s elite since the 1950s and could herald the largest transfer of wealth to a small group in the history of modern sport.
Read more from Tariq Panja, who covered the news.
Rory Smith notes not only what it takes for football to be played by the big clubs, but also why fans (and sponsors, broadcasters and the media) don’t. blame the idea that is about to come true.
And it was here that those hoping to benefit from the closure, from the fix to the rules of engagement, could not take all the blame. Many of those who spent Sunday venting rage at the greed of their masterminds have been complicit, over the past 30 years, in doing this – or something very similar to it – ending only possible argument.
That’s true of the Premier League, which splashes money from anyone and everyone who can afford to buy a club, which takes great pride in its “neutral ownership” approach, making people We are constantly questioning which club is good for the game. That is true of the Spanish authorities, who have clarified that the rules do not really apply to Real Madrid or Barcelona.
It is true, perhaps above all, that UEFA, which has become fat and rich on the proceeds of the Champions League, from bowing to the demands of its most powerful constituent clubs, give more and more power just to keep the show going. road. It’s true, even the rest of us in the frenzy of football – the news media and commentators and fans – who celebrated multimillion-dollar transfers la and the big TV deals and the obvious spending of money and without stopping to ask where it all goes.
By Monday morning, the battle to stop the Super League had begun. Governments and heads of state must also consider. So does FIFA, which often considers itself an independent country. Secret intelligence was shared, frantic phone calls were made, and shouts of “Judas!” and other insults, like “snake” and “liar,” add to the tension.
By first light, the war has begun. In a letter written by the separatist teams, they warned the football’s authorities that they had taken legal action to stop any attempt to stop their project.
Hours later, Aleksander Ceferin, president of European football’s governing body, UEFA, made his first public appearance to denounce the group behind the scheme and vowed to take stern action if it didn’t go. opposite direction. He raised the possibility of banning players from teams from attending events like the World Cup and other tournaments, and threatened to expel rebel clubs from their domestic leagues. Sunday’s announcement, he said, was “spit in the faces of football fans.”
Wait: What is the Super League?
Still not sure what the Super League is? We can catch up with you very quickly right here.
The tide turns
With featured player, respectable coach, daily fans, sponsors and TV networks add their voices to the opposition, Gianni Infantino, FIFA president, has been convinced to draw the biggest threat in the arsenal of those fighting for the status quo: In a speech at the European Football Administration’s congress, he reiterated FIFA’s threat to ban any player from participating in an outside competition from the World Cup. Cups:
“If some people choose to go their own way then they have to live with the consequences of their choice, they must take responsibility for their choice,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement. speech to European football leaders at their congress in Montreux, Switzerland. “Specifically this means you are in or you are out. You can’t be half in and half out. This should be completely clear. ”
Everything is falling apart
The third is an ambiguity. First the whispers, then the street protests, and then the news: Manchester City have been eliminated. Chelsea are looking for ways to withdraw from their contract. Arsenal, Spurs and Manchester United have left. Liverpool followed.
Forty-eight hours after it started, it was all over.
Signifies an incredible boom for a multi-billion dollar proposal that has driven howl of indignation from nearly every corner of the sport since it was announced on Sunday, and the culmination of 48 hours of frenzied controversy, intimidation and conspiracy at the highest levels of world football.
What are they thinking?
Rory Smith asked, how are the founders so blind? How could they not see this coming? Where are the supporters of this idea? And do we ever have to take their threats seriously?
By Monday, less than a day into their brave new world, they had lost governments and the European Union. Not long after, they died television network which, in the end, will pay for all of that.
Then they lost the players and managers, stars of the show that they hoped to sell globally so they could get fatter but still make a profit: first Ander Herrera and James Milner, Pep Guardiola and Luke Shaw and then, in a matter of hours, dozens more, full team of the player, broke the cover and went out against the plan.
By Tuesday, there’s hardly anyone they haven’t lost. They lost Eric Cantona. They are lost royal family. They even lost luxury watchmaker, and without the luxury watchmakers, there is nothing left to lose but themselves.
However, the story behind, narrated in great detail by Tariq Panja, is even richer. How Barcelona has tipped everyone’s hand. How Paris St.-Germain and Bayern – after receiving offers to join – turned down the league and instead helped kill it. How an olive branch plugged into a speech in Switzerland gave British clubs an outlet.
The full, definitive story reads like a horror movie:
However, the rumors continued and Ceferin felt he needed to be sure. So when he took the front seat of his Audi Q8 on Saturday to begin the eight-hour drive from his home in Ljubljana to his office in Switzerland, he decided going to learn everything. He called Agnelli. His friend didn’t pick up the phone.
Ceferin – godfather of Agnelli’s youngest child – texted the Italian player’s wife and asked if she could get the Juventus president to call him urgently. He was leaving for three hours when his cell phone rang. Breezily, Agnelli reassured Ceferin, once again, that everything was fine.
Ceferin suggested that they issue a joint statement to resolve the issue. Agnelli agrees. Ceferin drafted a statement from the car and sent it to Agnelli. An hour later, Agnelli asked for time to resubmit a revised version. Hours passed. The men deal more calls. In the end, the Italian told Ceferin that he needed another 30 minutes.
And then Agnelli turned off his phone.
By Friday, even the bankers apologizing. But football’s problems are not over yet.
The plan hatched by Europe’s elite clubs went wrong on almost every level, but its architects were right about one thing: The economy of football, as it stands, isn’t working. motion.
Now it’s gone. Maybe this weekend, when Manchester City or Tottenham celebrate winning the League Cup, when Bayern Munich move closer to another Bundesliga title, when Inter Milan finish on top of Serie A, all these things. This will feel like a fever dream. Outwardly, it will be behind us. The will to revolt was defeated, condemned to the past. Everything will be back to normal.
But that’s an illusion, because even though the Super League never gets a chance to play a game – it barely has time to build. website – it may yet prove to be the catalyst for football’s salvation. After all, it stripped them of the advantages of their leverage. They play their cards, and the whole thing becomes a hoax. Now, for the first time in years, the strength lies in the collective power of the game’s lesser lights.
They will need to use it.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/24/sports/soccer/what-happened-to-super-league.html What happened to the European Super League?