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UEFA lead backlash against Super League, UK government vows to step in
- Updated: April 20, 2021
European soccer’s governing body UEFA led a backlash against plans for a breakaway Super League on Monday, saying associated players and clubs could be banned from its competitions – including three of this season’s Champions League semi-finalists.
Addressing an emergency meeting the day after 12 of Europe’s top clubs announced the new league, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin described the Super League plan as a “spit in the face” of all football lovers.
“As soon as possible they (the clubs) and the players have to be banned from all our competitions,” he added.
Three of the 12 clubs in the new league – Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea – could be withdrawn from this season’s Champions League semi-finals, UEFA executive committee member Jesper Moller told Danish broadcaster DR.
“The clubs must go, I expect that to happen on Friday. Then we have to find out how to finish (this season’s) Champions League tournament,” said Moller, who heads the Danish FA.
The renegade clubs – six from the English Premier League plus three each from Spain and Italy – will be guaranteed places in the new competition in contrast to the Champions League, which requires teams to qualify via their domestic leagues.
U.S. investment bank JP Morgan (JPM.N) is financing the new league, providing a 3.5 billion euro ($4.2 billion) grant to the founding clubs to spend on infrastructure and recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier League clubs will meet to discuss the crisis on Tuesday but without the six breakaway clubs present as the remaining 14 clubs focus on their response.
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has voiced his objections to the plan while his sports minister Oliver Dowden said everything possible will be done to block the league and is examining options to penalise the six Premier League teams to sign up.
Dowden said the government would seek to block the project if football authorities could not.
“If they can’t act, we will,” he told parliament. “We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.”
Prince William, who is also President of the Football Association, said the Super League risked “damaging the game we love.”