Europe's Days-Old 'Super League' Craters

Backlash was almost universal; teams withdraw en masse
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2021 8:15 AM CDT
Days After Reveal, Elite Soccer League Is in Shambles
Chelsea former star goalkeeper Petr Cech, at right, behind a line of policemen, tries to calm down fans protesting outside Stamford Bridge stadium in London, against Chelsea's decision to be included amongst the clubs attempting to form a new European Super League, on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

It was announced Sunday that a lavishly-funded soccer league made up of major, celebrated teams from across Europe was about to launch. Days later, the European Super League looks to be crumbling in front of team supporters' thankful eyes. After all, "many called it the death of soccer," per Quartz. Only the 15 wealthiest and most powerful clubs were to be made permanent members of the closed league, in which they would compete for soccer's biggest prizes. Five other teams were to be invited to compete on an annual basis, though details weren't provided. Major teams from France's Ligue 1 and Germany's Bundesliga opted out. But 12 major clubs from England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, and Italy's Serie A liked the idea of bringing in billions of dollars in additional TV revenue and sponsorships in the middle of a pandemic that has cleared fans from the stands, and said they would compete.

They were to remain in their regular leagues but substitute the 66-year-old UEFA Champions League, made up of the top teams from each of the five leagues, for the ESL, financed with more than $4 billion from JPMorgan. Soon, however, UEFA threatened to ban participating players from the World Cup. Fans, players, coaches, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and Prince William also spoke out against the plan. Many fans saw the ESL, with no basis on merit, as a money grab, per the Wall Street Journal. Some even burned jerseys and cut up season tickets. English teams Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham, and Chelsea responded by pulling out of the ESL on Tuesday, followed by La Liga's Atlético Madrid and Serie A's Inter Milan, AC Milan, and Juventus, leaving only Real Madrid and Barcelona committed, per the Independent. The ESL says it's now looking to "reshape the project." (Read more soccer stories.)

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