Manchester United out – Real Madrid and Barcelona in
The recent EU Court ruling favouring the European Super League (ESL) has elicited varied reactions from the UK football community, particularly in light of the proposal’s potential impact on national leagues. The ruling deemed FIFA and UEFA’s blocking of the league unlawful, sparking debates across England’s football landscape.
In response, the UK government has taken a strong stance against the possibility of English clubs joining any form of a breakaway league. The Department for Media, Culture and Sport stated: “The attempt to create a breakaway competition was a defining moment in English football and was universally condemned by fans, clubs, and the Government.” They further announced their intent to enforce this position through legislation, signalling a firm commitment to the integrity and future of English football.
Manchester United, one of the original members of the failed 2021 ESL attempt, reaffirmed their commitment to UEFA competitions, distancing themselves from the revised Super League plans. As stated by the club, “We remain fully committed to participation in UEFA competitions, and to positive cooperation with UEFA, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game.”
The Premier League clubs’ dismissal of the ESL is further reinforced by rules agreed upon in the 2022-23 season, which state a collective commitment to the Premier League and a prohibition against creating new competition formats outside of the Premier League’s rules.
Similarly, other clubs, including Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich, have also expressed their disinterest in participating in the revamped league.
Strong reactions come also from other countries football leagues. The Spanish’s LaLiga has labelled the Super League as “selfish and elitist,” highlighting the division in perspectives among Europe’s football leagues. Despite this, LaLiga’s top clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, continue to support the ESL initiative. Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, celebrated the court ruling as a “great day for football and sports,” showcasing the ongoing divide within the football community.
UEFA has maintained its stance against the ESL, stating that the recent court ruling does not endorse or validate the formation of the Super League. They remain confident in their new rules, asserting compliance with relevant European laws and regulations.
The proposed ESL format, as detailed by A22 Sports Management, would include a three-tier structure with 64 teams in the men’s competition and 32 in the women’s. This system is touted to be based on sporting merit and would feature promotion and relegation, in contrast to the initial closed-league format that drew widespread criticism.