It was a chaotic 72 hours for football when the Super League kicked off on Sunday night, but now it seems to have already exploded.
AC Milan were one of 12 clubs that signed up as a “ founding club ” along with six Premier League teams, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid plus rivals Juventus and Inter. The six English teams have officially retired – as have Inter and Atleti – and now Atletico they provided the background of what happened yesterday
They report that some of the other 14 Premier League clubs were / are pushing for point deductions for those involved in the Super League, saying they may be in violation of the owners and managers test.
UEFA meanwhile is determined to reform the Champions League with a new structure, more teams and more matches, as voted on Monday. They even held talks with a London-based private equity firm for a stake of £ 5 billion.
The pressure on Premier League teams increased throughout the day on Tuesday. One sponsor left Liverpool and others threatened to do the same, and Jordan Henderson held a meeting with other club captains which highlighted the players’ disgust with the events.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola blasted the project principle at his pre-match press conference as his players privately were outraged that they might be blocked from playing for their national teams or in the Champions League.
Hector Bellerin led an element of the Arsenal squad who was furious with the plans, while Manchester United also had a furious group of players. Chelsea coach Petr Cech had to move an angry group of fans who had gathered to protest outside Stamford Bridge ahead of the game against Brighton.
Amid all the drama that was unfolding, Ceferin made a statement in which he skillfully stated it the UEFA door was not closed to those teams who had decided to join the ESL. He was “careful not to burn all the bridges” and “made it clear that there was still a way back for the devious dozen”.
He had sensed that the project was unfolding and “went for the English clubs” hoping for one to come out, so the house of cards fell. One by one, and at 11pm BST, all the English clubs had really changed their minds.
According to the report, what remains now is the mopping up operation. Contracts must be torn, apologies made and some penalties paid, but UEFA is unlikely to punish because “the humiliating defeat should be enough for most of them”.
The ironic part is that the 12 clubs will apparently “get a series of Champions League reforms that many other clubs, leagues, football associations and fans will think is a substantial reward for such betrayal.”
There will be “four extra slots for the Champions League, four more guaranteed games, a new format to expose to broadcasters, a backdoor into the tournament for two temporarily embarrassed aristocrats, and even the promise of a greater say in how the tournament is marketed and managed “.