October 24, 2021

Fans’ group: Super League ‘illegitimate and dangerous’

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Plans for a European Super League have been branded “unpopular, illegitimate and dangerous” by a continental fans’ organisation.

Proposals for a 20-club breakaway competition were published in The Times last month, with world football’s governing body FIFA and the six continental confederations stating they would not recognise it.

Now fans’ umbrella group Football Supporters Europe (FSE) has expressed its strong opposition to the idea, which is understood to be led by Real Madrid.

“We are all united in our opposition to the creation of a European Super League – an unpopular, illegitimate, and dangerous scheme in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of fans,” read an FSE statement published on Tuesday.

FSE says such a league would “destroy the European model of sport” which is based around domestic competition, promotion and relegation and qualification for European competition via domestic success.

PA - Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (left) and Manchester United's Paul Pogba
Image: The Premier League’s ‘big six’ – including Liverpool and Manchester United – have been linked with the proposals

FSE says reform is needed, but that the purpose of reform should be to make the game fairer. The Super League, it says, is “anti-competitive by design”.

The statement calls on domestic competitions to be protected, for fans and fan culture to be defended, and for a fairer revenue distribution model to make the European game more sustainable.

The renewed momentum behind a Super League comes at a time when the format of European competition post 2024 is being discussed by the continent’s governing body UEFA along with the European Leagues group and the European Club Association.

FILE - In this Sunday, July 15, 2018 file photo, France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lifts the trophy after France won 4-2 during the final match between France and Croatia at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. World Cup winner France reclaims the No. 1 spot in the FIFA rankings for the first time in 16 years after defeating Croatia 4-2 for its second World Cup title and jumped up six places. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, File) 2:36
Players who compete in a European ‘Super League’ will be banned from FIFA competitions, world football’s governing body has said

It is understood consensus is developing around an expanded group phase where teams play 10 matches under a so-called ‘Swiss system’.

FSE said: “We call for meaningful multi-stakeholder consultation on any proposals to restructure the European game, including fans and their representatives.

“We will also closely monitor all attempts to change the existing format of European club competitions, measuring them against the principles outlined above, and will further oppose any attempts to impose a Super League by the backdoor.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas said on Monday that a Super League would be “ruinous” for domestic leagues but warned it would also be hugely damaging to the clubs involved themselves in the medium term.