UEFA boss Alexander Ceferin has warned of the potential ‘consequences’ of the failed European Super League proposal, while he also offered his thanks to both fans and the UK government for their strong reaction to the attempted breakaway.
The footballing world was rocked on Sunday evening as 12 major European sides gave their public backing to form a breakaway Super League, yet just 48 hours later and the attempted ‘coup’ was in tatters, with the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ all swiftly withdrawing themselves from any such plans after a severe backlash among supporters.
While the likes of Liverpool owner John W. Henry and Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer have since offered apologies for their roles in the Super League debacle, it remains to be seen what the longer-term consequences for those clubs or owners will be, be that both domestically and in European competition.
According to UEFA president Ceferin, ‘everyone will be held responsible’ for their involvement, although he insisted that the swift withdrawal by the English club’s may well work in their favour, in contrast to both Real Madrid and Barcelona, both of whom ‘think the Super League still exists’.
“Let’s see. Everyone has to take consequences for what they did and we cannot pretend nothing happened,” Cefering told the Mail. “You cannot do something like that and just say: ‘I’ve been punished because everybody hates me.’ They don’t have problems because of anyone else but themselves. It’s not OK what they did and we will see in next few days what we have to do.
“But for me it’s a clear difference between the English clubs and the other six. They pulled out first, they admitted they made a mistake. You have to have some greatness to say: ‘I was wrong.’ For me there are three groups of this 12 — the English Six, who went out first, then the other three [Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter] after them and then the ones who feel that Earth is flat and they think the Super League still exists. And there is a big difference between those. But everyone will be held responsible. In what way, we will see.
“I don’t want to say disciplinary process but it has to be clear that everyone has to be held responsible in a different way. Is it disciplinary? Is it the decision of the executive committee? We will see. It’s too early to say.“
The Super League is gone for now.
But here’s what you’ll get instead with the new Champions League format that was confirmed this week pic.twitter.com/AEeichoyiO
— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 21, 2021
The 53-year-old also went on to praise the response of fans in the UK to the attempted breakaway as well as the strong public stance of the government.
“Look, honestly speaking I was completely impressed by the reaction of the fans, the whole football community and not just the football community but I would say society. I have never seen this.
“UEFA did its part, the clubs that stood with us did their part. And of course the UK Government out of all did the big part. But by far the biggest part was done by fans.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had threatened to drop a ‘legislative Bomb’ in order to try and prevent any such Super League taking shape, while he has now committed to a government-led review of English football and it’s ownership.
“Absolutely I was impressed by the reaction of UK Government,” Ceferin added. “I had phone conversation with Prime Minister Johnson and State Secretary Dowden many times in this 48 crazy hours. They were on the right side of history at the right time. And this is impressive.
“This joint effort showed that not everything is for sale, that you cannot come with billions and say: ‘I don’t care about tradition, history the things that you love, because I have enough money I will buy all.’ No way! It doesn’t go through.”