UEFA has come to an agreement on penalties for the nine clubs that had previously withdrawn from the established, but immediately collapsed, Super League. Together they will donate €15 million to the development of children’s soccer, and they will each lose 5% of their income in the next European competition season. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, who did not leave the project, will face harsher penalties.
The Super League on Clay Feet
The European Super League project, launched in April by twelve reputable clubs from Spain, England and Italy, has seriously shaken up the world’s established soccer structure.
It has many flaws, discussed and hushed up, but the project, primarily lobbied for by Real Madrid and Juventus Turin bosses Florentino Perez and Andrea Agnelli, threatened to do irreparable damage to the soccer community.
When, it must be said, the rather crude Super League project was presented, the fans revolted, including those of the twelve clubs, as well as the players. But the barrage of criticism was much greater.
The president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Alexander Cefferin, acted swiftly and competently, taking advantage of leaked information and bringing the national leagues and federations, the well-known, but not invited or rejected teams and the entire European Club Association (ECA) and even well-known politicians to his side.
- As a result, the feet of the clay colossus of the Super League expectedly snapped, with the founding clubs themselves, as they were called in the founding documents of the very 12, walking backwards.
The first to withdraw from the project with the obligatory apology to the fans announced all six English teams: “Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester United.
The latter, however, did not apologize to anyone, the more that owns it American family Glazer was one of the ideologists of the new tournament and advocated forcing the start of the still raw project, but against all did not go and the Mancunians.
Around that time, Inter Italy and Atlético Española declined to participate in the venture, with the Madrid side hinting transparently in their statement that they were in fact forced to sign up for the venture.
- Only Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Milan, in their statements about the impossibility of launching a new tournament now, said nothing about withdrawing from the project. True, Milan, as it turned out on May 7, also “gave up” by signing an agreement with UEFA.
An act of surrender
On the evening of May 7, UEFA announced that it had decided to penalize, as well as reintegrate into its ecosystem, nine clubs that had intended to participate, but eventually withdrew from the European Super League project.
- UEFA has concluded a kind of reintegration pact with each of the nine clubs that were defaulters but repentant participants in the project. The conditions are the same for all.
UEFA published them on its official website. Each of these clubs:
- Unconditionally recognize and accept the binding nature of UEFA’s charter;
- Will participate in any UEFA club tournaments each season, when the club qualifies for the sporting principle;
- Will rejoin UEFA, which is the only representative body of clubs recognized by UEFA.
- Will take all steps to withdraw from the Super League;
- As a gesture of goodwill and together with other clubs, make a donation – worth €15 million in total – that will benefit children, youth and grassroots soccer in local communities across Europe, including the UK;
- Will agree to withhold 5% of the revenue he would have received for participating in UEFA club tournaments in a single season.
- Agrees to significant fines if he wants to participate in such an unauthorized competition (€100 million) or if he violates any other obligations spelled out in the declaration (€50 million).
In fact, all of the above means that the nine failed rebels admit their total defeat, and it also insures UEFA against creating something similar in the future.
Ceferin is well aware that Perez and Agnelli are not reconciled. The president of the “Royal Club” said directly that he will continue to work on the project, and his time will still come, and the head of the “old signora”, although silenced in the press, does not look like he has given up.
As for Barcelona, the recently returned president Joan Laporta would probably have been among the initiators of such a tournament himself, had he worked at the club when the project was created. The Catalans have the worst financial situation among the grandees, and the old-new head of the club is looking for any ways to fix it. Superleague would have helped.
How to strangle a revolution
“Two weeks ago I said at the UEFA congress: you have to be strong to admit a mistake. These clubs did exactly that. Accepting their commitment and willingness to correct their mistakes, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind them and move forward in a positive way,” the UEFA press service quotes Ceferin as saying.
- The measures announced today are serious enough, but UEFA will not keep the money it receives from fines. The funds will be reinvested in youth and grassroots soccer across Europe, including the UK.
These clubs were quick to realize their mistakes and take action to demonstrate their remorse and commitment to European soccer. The same cannot be said for the clubs that continue to participate in the so-called Super League, and UEFA will deal with these clubs in the future.
It sounds quite threatening, and in this case, the president of the Union does not intend to throw words to the wind. Ceferin intends to definitively destroy all the seeds of revolution. To do this, it is clear, we will have to punish the revolutionaries.
- UEFA has stated that it reserves the right to take any action it deems appropriate in regard to the clubs which have refused to withdraw from the Super League. The case will be immediately referred to the competent UEFA disciplinary authorities.
There is talk that Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus may be suspended from participation in European Cups for a year, and it probably would have been done by now if it were that simple.
Firstly, the absence of such clubs would have a very strong impact on the Champions League itself (although Juventus might not qualify for it even on a sporting basis), and thus on the income of UEFA itself. It is unlikely that anyone will be happy with that in the short term.
In addition, there is a legal nuance. UEFA concluded a tough pact with the nine clubs in order to have a legal mechanism of punishment for such actions in the future.
- If the Union tries to impose tough financial sanctions on those who do not comply or suspend them for a year or more from participation in European tournaments, it can simply be dragged through the courts. And the likelihood of UEFA winning them is not so great.
In general, the case is rather complicated by the fact that in the statutes of the Super League prescribed fines of tens of millions for withdrawal from the tournament. So problems may still arise for the frightened nine, unless, of course, all the papers of the new tournament that did not take place will not be recognized legally null and void.