It is not yet a formal exclusion. But it is a symbolic sidelining. The leaders of the Premier League, the first division of English football, will meet on Tuesday, April 20, in the morning to discuss the follow-up to be given to the proposed European Superleague. They will do it without the six English clubs involved in this project, which caused, in England, the amazement of supporters and lovers of the football, as the last minutes of “Match of the Day” witnessed. BBC flagship football show, Sunday April 18.
“Everyone today, the supporters, the commentators, we share our dismay and our anger”, dropped Mark Chapman, the presenter of the show, normally very moderate. “This shows that the owners of these six big clubs are not interested in the supporters, in the tradition, in the history, in the passion of the fans and the clubs”, ex-Liverpool player Danny Murphy added, while Manchester United ex-Dion Dublin said: “They’re stealing our game.”
We do not joke with football in the country which codified the sport more than a century and a half ago. Here, the round ball is a story of social classes, rivalries between neighborhoods, heroic stories. Of course, it’s been a long time since money changed the sport. The Premier League is the richest sports competition in Europe. The teams have been bought for two decades by oligarchs and gas and oil emirs who thus acquire media virginity.
Government invokes competition law
The idea of doing a separate competition, with a place reserved for twelve clubs, seems to go too far. Political end, Boris Johnson was not mistaken, opposing this project “Which would be very damaging for football”. “It would touch the heart of our national game”, said the Prime Minister. The government wants to do “Everything possible” to prevent this Superleague, said Monday, the Minister of Sports, Oliver Dowden, invoking the legislation against anti-competitive practices, which prohibits the formation of cartels or monopolies.
Supporters of Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea – the “Big Six” – are not kind to their own clubs either. Ian Stirling, who heads one of Manchester United’s supporters’ associations, has sobs in his voice. “It’s our story, and the owners [des clubs] steal it from us for money. These people don’t know anything about Manchester, Liverpool, the rivalry between Manchester United and Manchester City… ”
You have 45.93% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.