European Super League: Premier League owners 'must learn football isn't like NBA' – Avram Grant

By Sports Desk April 21, 2021

Avram Grant believes the owners of Europe's top clubs must learn football is completely different to the NBA.

Former Chelsea and West Ham manager Grant is thrilled that the breakaway continental competition – which would have rivalled UEFA's Champions League and impacted the future of domestic pyramids – has fallen through.

All six English clubs involved withdrew on Tuesday, prompting Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli to acknowledge on Wednesday the project was effectively over as further teams rushed to the exit.

Grant feels the saga was a huge victory for football supporters.

He pointed out how the sport is different to any others, which may have surprised some of the American owners as they tried to force through a project that would have guaranteed the involvement of founding clubs every year.

"They [the owners] compare it the NBA, but it is not a good comparison," Grant said to Stats Perform News.

"What they say is not right. This is not the NBA - there is a draft in the NBA.

"Of course, they misjudged it as they don't come from football. Take the three Americans. I met one of them, fantastic person but they don't know the nature of the game. 

"In football, one plus one is not two. The decision making is different. Football is a game of emotions. The game is not pure business. It's a lot of passion. 

"Supporters are paying money and I'm so happy about the reaction of the PM [prime minister, Boris Johnson] and of Prince William who I know and really like. 

"It's a lesson for all the owners, money is important but the passion needs to stay as it is. They will learn their lesson, they are clever guys. 

"We love that Leicester City became champions – you cannot take Euro opportunities from clubs. 

"And even the LA Lakers don't always get a place in the playoffs, they need to work for it."

Grant was pleased to see his former boss – Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich – among the first to withdraw following fan protests at Stamford Bridge.

He insisted the Russian should not take all of the blame for signing up as he must have been badly advised.

Grant added: "I'm very happy about that as I know him, he took a step back.

"And it's not just Roman, but the people around the owners. Where have you been? You need to tell them [the owners]. 

"It was the wrong decision and I'm very happy about their reaction. 

"Football can be improved, I understand the big clubs, some of the things they are asking for are right, but this decision [to try a Super League] is very wrong.

"I was not shocked [by the idea] because you know big clubs have been speaking about it for a long time, but I was shocked they did it. 

"I understand where they are coming from financially but they have tried to create classes in football, when instead you have to prove yourself on the pitch. 

"Imagine if I told a squad, quality doesn't matter, you five players will play always!

"UEFA need to find a solution with big clubs to keep the balance [between finance and sport]. They need to keep the nature of the football." 

Grant was asked about the future of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was poised to lead the Super League as its chairman.

He added: "No more Super League, forget it, it will not happen. I said to Florentino Perez: forget it! It’s not good for you! 

"I understand what he tried to do, but it was wrong. He can stay – but if he still thinks it is the right way to go and destroys football then that is something else. 

"It's a big, big victory for the supporters. Football comes from the heart. 

"It's a victory for the people. This is the biggest victory. In democracy people vote, this is democracy and the people said no. 

"We don't want Real Madrid v Liverpool every day. You can't give an advantage to any player to play. I can't just play Didier Drogba because I like him! Only because he is good. 

"So, it is a big, big victory for the people."

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