European Super League: Sports lawyer expects club to resurrect crumbling plans in three years

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

European Super League clubs will attempt to resurrect their crumbling plans for a breakaway competition in a few years, a leading sports lawyer has suggested.

European football was rocked to its core on Sunday following the announcement of a long-feared Super League by a group of leading clubs.

The Premier League's so-called "big six" were named as founding clubs of the Super League along with Milan, Inter, Juventus, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, whose president – Florentino Perez – was set to head up the new competition as chairman.

UEFA's response to the initial rumours on Sunday – which were followed by an official announcement from the 12 clubs later in the day – reiterated a previous threat to kick those involved out of other competitions, such as their domestic leagues and the Champions League.

A UEFA executive, Jan Moller, then went a step further on Monday after Europe's governing body had announced a revamped Champions League, saying he expected Madrid, Chelsea and City to be booted out of the continent's elite tournament this week ahead of their semi-finals.

Media reports on Tuesday claimed several clubs – including Chelsea and Manchester City – have pulled out, but Richard Cramer, managing director of the sports law firm Front Row Legal, suspects there could be another attempt a few years down the line in spite of the backlash.

Speaking to Stats Perform News, Cramer said: "Even if they put it to bed now, it's going to come up again in another three years, perhaps when maybe the TV income has plateaued out and the clubs aren't seeing an improvement on that.

"Is the European Super League, whether it's a replacement for the Champions League, or even a standalone competition equivalent to a domestic competition, is that going to be more exciting for the fans going forward and for the TV companies?"

"It's not the first time it's been floated around. And I think if you look back at previous kinds of false dawns, what it's tended to do is sort of shake up UEFA to say, 'Well, in order to avert the threat of the European Super League breakaway' – and that's always this kind of phraseology that's used – 'we want you to make the Champions League richer, and we want more money out of it'."

Reports on Tuesday have also suggested Manchester United chief Ed Woodward and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli have resigned following their respective roles in the attempted launch of the Super League.

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    Several police officers were injured during the ensuing clashes, which forced the postponement of the game on safety grounds.

    However, the rearranged fixture looks likely to go ahead after United, along with local police, took steps to prepare for fresh protests taking place on Thursday evening.

    Barriers were erected around Old Trafford to prevent fans from entering, while the United players arrived individually by car earlier in the day before taking a pre-match nap at the stadium.

    Liverpool, meanwhile, sent a decoy coach that was momentarily blocked by a group of fans, but ultimately arrived at a side of the ground clear of supporters and without issue.

    As such, it is currently expected that the game will kick off on time (8.15pm GMT).

    United's American owners have been the target of renewed ire from fans in the aftermath of failed plans to join a breakaway Super League alongside the Premier League's 'big six'.

    Consequently, United legend Roy Keane does not expect supporter anger at the Glazers to subside any time soon.

    He told Sky Sports: "Manchester United fans are not done with this, we saw some protests a few weeks ago, but I think there is still a lot to come. 

    "The concern is that when the fans can come back to the stadium, you could have 70,000 fans showing up at Old Trafford, frustrated with what happened. Things can get much worse."

    Keane's former United team-mate, Gary Neville, believes the ongoing protests are serving to damage the club's brand, which in turn should hurt the Glazers.

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    "If UEFA decides that, we are going to go there," Guardiola said.

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    Guardiola will hope Kevin De Bruyne is ready to play in the Champions League final, but the Belgian playmaker will miss Friday's Premier League game at Newcastle United due to a muscle injury.

    "He is still injured but he's getting better," Guardiola said in a news conference on Thursday.

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