Sunday saw news broke of a potential European Super League emerging, with plans for the league to commence in time for the 2023-24 season. English top-flight clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham were among the 11 European teams that have signed up to join the breakaway Super League plan.
This was initially reported by The Times, and numerous other publications then followed suit with reports on the Super League plot. This news immediately elicited strong statements of condemnation from the Premier League, UEFA, as well as several other top flight domestic European leagues and multiple leading figures in the world of football.
.@GNev2 shares his thoughts on reports of a European Super League…??
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) April 18, 2021
One of which was Gary Neville, a Manchester United club legend and Sky Sports pundit who is famous for often having a very strong take on the topics of the day.
“Are Arsenal in the league? They’ve just drawn to Fulham,” Neville said.
“United aren’t beating Burnley. I can’t concentrate on this game. The 6 English clubs should have points docked from them this season. It’s an absolute joke.”
“I can’t concentrate on the game [Man Utd vs Burnley]. They should all be docked points agreeing to it in the middle of a season.”
Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly part of the European Super League plans.
The Premier League has condemned it: pic.twitter.com/Jhd3Baoijw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 18, 2021
United would go on to beat Burnley 3-1, but at the time Gary Neville made the comments, United were tied with a team that hovers just above the drop zone. Arsenal played a team that will likely be relegated to a stalemate today. Neville is absolutely right that it was just impossible to concentrate on the games today, when news of a $6 billion (£4.3 billion) potential megadeal overshadows everything else.
According to an ESPN report, that six billion dollars would be sourced by New York City based investment bank JP Morgan, who would underwrite the deal.
The Super League news comes on the eve of UEFA’s announcing their plans to expand the Champions League to 36 teams.
A European Super League would probably end the Champions League, and it would have numerous adverse ripple effects all throughout the world of football. Neville wasn’t done ripping this concept.
“In the wake of Covid, it’s an absolute scandal,” he added.
“United and the rest of the big six clubs who have signed up for it should be ashamed of themselves.”
He’s right again- this is a money grab, pure and simple. That said, I don’t think this is going to actually happen. I think the initial backlash against this concept is so strong that those who have gotten on board with it will get cold feet and reverse course.
Who knows how it’s all going to play out, and there will be plot twists aplenty today and moving forward, but if I had to bet on it, I would say this actually won’t happen.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.Follow paulmbanks