The life of the Super League has lasted three days. He was born at dawn from Sunday to Monday and went into a coma on Tuesday night with the Brexit of the six English clubs. This Wednesday morning the elitist plan was buried with the continued trickle of resignations. Inter Milan and Atlético de Madrid clearly communicated that for them the adventure was over. Juventus and Milan also ended a project that was already born touched without the presence of Bayern Munich, Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain, despite the fact that their names appeared in the previous documents that revealed the breakthrough competition. Only the Real Madrid of Florentino Pérez, the main ideologue and president of the Super League, and the Barcelona of Joan Laporta already hold the banner of the rampage that had in its sights the monopoly of UEFA and FIFA over international competitions.
The communiqués of the defending clubs, justifying their adhesion and their flight, reveal that among them the feeling of precipitation reigns and of not having calibrated that the greatest asset of football resides in the fans. “The voice and concern of fans around the world about the Super League has been strong and clear and our club has to respect the opinion of those who love this wonderful sport,” acknowledged Inter. “Atlético de Madrid made the decision last Monday to join this project in response to circumstances that no longer exist today. For the club, harmony is essential between all the groups that make up the rojiblanca family, especially our fans, ”said the club, the first and only of the three Spaniards to break with what they had just signed. Shortly after, Simeone and Koke released messages that they did not dare to utter before the collapse of the project like Guardiola, De Bruyne and Klopp did. “Football belongs to everyone, to the people, and we are. Before players or coaches, we were all fans, “said the Argentine coach. “We will continue to fight from our position for Atleti to grow through the values of effort and merit that have always characterized us so that all of you continue to see yourself reflected in those signs of identity,” wrote the rojiblanco captain in his networks.
Shortly before the resignation of Atlético, Andrea Agnelli, president of Juventus and vice president of the Super League, had already given the coup de grace to the initiative, aborted by the threats of exclusion from UEFA and FIFA, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the popular revolts of the English fans. “I remain convinced of the beauty of the project,” said Agnelli, “but you have to admit that now he can’t go ahead.”
Among some of the defending clubs there is even the feeling of having been deceived after having paid 200,000 euros, as confirmed by one of them, by signing his entry into the select club that intended to revolutionize the football business. “They told us that before July we would be 15 clubs to form a strong group that could negotiate with UEFA,” they say from one of the founding teams.
From Paris they watched in perplexity the hours between the announcement and the dissolution. Pérez had kept the PSG leaders aware of the project, although, according to sources close to the club’s high command, they always preferred to stay on the sidelines. “We are not part of it,” they insisted both over the weekend and after the formal announcement of the launch. Both they and the two great Germans, Bayern and Dortmund, preferred to step aside. Pérez and Agnelli knew it, so in the final hours of last week, in which they accelerated the announcement, according to these same sources, they did not contact them again. The founding statement caused some surprise in PSG, where they did not think they were going to take a step of that depth without counting on them and the Germans. If the operation already seemed risky to them, without those two countries and without those clubs, it was even more complex. They did not see so clearly the parallelism of the desired European Super League with the NBA and the NFL, models of superlative commercial success of two closed leagues.
The big hurdle they had identified was not financial. They had the initial credit from JP Morgan and a subsequent plan for possible resale of shares in the company that would manage the competition. The stumbling block that caution caused them was cultural: they believed that the NBA and NFL models, single-country competitions, with some recent additions, could not be exported to European football, with entrenched teams from dozens of countries and diverse communities. “They did not wait for people’s reactions or measure the real power they have. Not the politicians ”, say these sources. In fact, they did have some very complicated initial hours planned, according to sources familiar with the launch plans. To do this, they designed a communication plan that began with an initial appearance on Monday night of the president of the competition, Florentino Pérez, who chose for it The beach bar, and that it continued the next day with a trail of appearances from the rest of the heads of the clubs, in their respective countries. But that second wave, which Pérez advanced in his interview, never occurred. And UEFA, emboldened by the contrary popular reaction, launched its powerful communication strategy. “UEFA had held talks with governments and the European Union for when the time came. We were prepared ”, says Javier Tebas, president of LaLiga.
Manchester City immediately hesitated. Sources close to the Super League say that they had already detected that this club seemed the weakest link, being the least sensitive to the punishment of the penalty clauses included in the signed contracts. The enormous economic power that supports the City made the effect of the penalty clause less relevant for them, similar for all the signatories, with some particularity adjusted to the characteristics of some clubs. From the City everything began to collapse.