Less than 24 hours ago, Roma fans were gearing up for their Round 31 fixture against then 17th place Torino. While you never want to assume anything, most fans probably started the day optimistic that Paulo Fonseca could scheme up a way to defeat Andrea Belotti and the rest of the relegation battling Toros, but their quick start—a third minute Borja Mayoral—was soon fully erased by a determined Torino side that peppered Antonio Mirante's goal with 27 shots.
Roma eventually limped off the pitch 3-1 losers in a rather embarrassing display but our dismay was quickly rendered moot by yesterday's big news: the establishment of the much-ballyhooed European Super League. Not long after the final whistle blew in Torino yesterday, a cadre of Europe's biggest football clubs officially announced their intention to break away from the UEFA Champions League, starting their own separate midweek European competition; one fueled by billions of American dollars thanks to JP Morgan Chase essentially bankrolling the entire venture.
And, as one would expect, the football world was quick to respond. We've barely scratched the surface of this story, so in addition to sharing some of the most pointed responses to the Super League, we'll keep updating this thread with the latest news from FIFA, UEFA, and the Super League itself.
Social Media Reactions
Gary Neville takes the footballing world, including his former club Manchester United, to task for essentially destroying the spirit of football itself.
Former Players Speak Out
Gary Neville is the people's hero right now. Unreal piece of television about the European Super League. pic.twitter.com/ypdQbdQfs7— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) April 18, 2021
Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher took his club to task as well:
.@Carra23 has made his thoughts on the European Super League very clear...— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 18, 2021
How about current players? What are they saying?
Ander Herrera becomes one of the first high-profile players to speak out about the European Super League pic.twitter.com/64E959QKJO— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 19, 2021
Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League - not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week. Really hard to understand for all football fans out there...⚽— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 19, 2021
I grew up loving the @ChampionsLeague. Then I got to play in the @UWCL. Then I got to win 5 of them and become the all-time leading goalscorer. It's legacy. It's the past, present, and future, so is meritocracy in sports. Greed is not the future. pic.twitter.com/8cLlCbMnQd— Ada S Hegerberg (@AdaStolsmo) April 19, 2021
Who's Leaving & Why
As many expected, the announcement of the Super League was quickly followed by a series of clubs disassociating themselves from the European Club Association, including all 12 charter members of the Super League
Told all six Premier League clubs have quit the European Club Association along with the six other 'founding fathers' of the Super League.— Jason Burt (@JBurtTelegraph) April 18, 2021
But what's at the root of this unprecedented rift? Money. Plain and simple:
Here's a clue as to why 12 clubs have signed up for a European Super League:— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) April 18, 2021
They lost a combined £1.2 billion in 2019/20 before player sales*
And that was for a season where only the last 3 months were impacted by COVID...
*Liverpool have not yet published their accounts pic.twitter.com/7o1ubiDX6z
Some of the Super League members were no brainers, while others were a bit harder to explain:
Most recent league title of European 'Super' League founding clubs:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 18, 2021
Man City: 2019
Man Utd: 2013
Real Madrid: 2020
“I once formed a European Super League and invited Spurs to take part” pic.twitter.com/QkvE25Gi9y— Mo' (@mocent0) April 18, 2021
America's foremost soccer writer chimed in and took a great shot at one of the nation's most/least popular talking heads to boot!
How bad is the idea for a European Super League? I've yet to see a single writer or media member on any continent come out in support of it. Curious to see if anyone tries to make the case for it, even someone like Skip Bayless.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) April 19, 2021
More on the financial incentives of the Super League. How does €10 billion sound?
Now very clear that 12 Euro Super League 'founders' will try to use promise of €10bn solidarity over 23 years as sell to govts, EU, domestic leagues. Sad to report that clubs, according to sources, are 'committed' to breakaway— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) April 18, 2021
Updates & Countermeasures
UEFA dropped the hammer late last night, declaring that any player or club involved in this Super League could be banned from ALL UEFA and FIFA competitions, including potentially the World Cup and European Championships
FIFA statement on #SuperLeague inviting to dialogue, but not anymore mentioning banning players from international football pic.twitter.com/IDZmAHsGoc— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) April 18, 2021
After the #SuperLeague statement, this is the UEFA position: "Every club and player participating in the Super League could be banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions, European or International level". #UEFA— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 18, 2021
So, if that happens, what will next year's Champions League look like?
So next season then:#UCL— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) April 18, 2021
Leicester, West Ham, Everton, Leeds
Atalanta, Napoli, Lazio, Roma
Sevilla, Villarreal, Betis, Sociedad#UEL
Aston Villa, Wolves, Crystal Palace
Sassuolo, Verona, Sampdoria
Granada, Levante, Celta Vigo
More on the structure of the league and the three future clubs believed to be Bayern Munich, Porto, and maybe PSG, though the QSI group that owns PSG has a, shall we say, unique relationship with FIFA due to the vagaries surrounding the 2022 Qatar World Cup bidding process, so they may tread lightly for the time being.
Official statement.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 18, 2021
"Three more clubs are expected to join as Founding Clubs before the inaugural season, which is expected to start as soon as possible.
In the future, the Founding Clubs look forward to consulting with UEFA and FIFA in order to work together". #SuperLeague
They clearly assembled the cream of the crop to run this league...
#SuperLeague official statement— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 18, 2021
Chairman: Florentino Perez (Real Madrid)
Vice-chairman: Andrea Agnelli (Juventus)
Vice-chairman: Joel Glazer (Man United)
Also: Andrea Agnelli is set to resign as president of ECA.
“We’ll suspend the 12 teams as soon as possible. I’ve never seen someone lie to me as much as Agnelli, I spoke to him on Saturday and he said it was all rumors and then turned off his phone. He’s one of if not the biggest disappointment”— Italian Football TV (@IFTVofficial) April 19, 2021
- UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin pic.twitter.com/AzzeE0TJen
If the Super League is only a midweek Champions League replacement, surely the clubs can still compete in their domestic leagues, right?
The format would see the 15 ‘Founding Clubs’ guaranteed participation, with a further 5 teams qualifying annually “based on achievements in prior season”, & all continuing to compete in their respective national leagues.— Dan Roan (@danroan) April 18, 2021
(Prem League has said it would refuse to allow this)
The BBC provides more information on the nuts and bolts of the Super League, including statements from the group itself:
What do we know about the proposed European Super League?— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 18, 2021
Will clubs remain in their domestic leagues?
How many games will be played?
This is what the Super League organisers are saying. ⤵️
More info: https://t.co/FPMgzfm1VW pic.twitter.com/Zi37aj1cJf
There is a lot to unpack from the past 12 hours, so check back as we continue to track this story.