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Why a European Super League is bad news for fans and domestic football 



Football fans have condemned fresh proposals for a European Super League after a court ruling appeared to clear the path for previously abandoned plans to be resurrected.

An EU court has ruled Fifa and Uefa abused their dominant position by forbidding clubs from joining a breakaway league.

The landmark decision from the European Court of Justice will clear any legal hurdles that may have prevented the European Super League from forming after 12 major clubs threatened to form the breakaway competition in 2021.

The proposals sparked widespread protests among fans who accused club owners of disregarding domestic leagues and footballing tradition, before sanctions by Uefa caused many of the clubs to pull out.

Now with the pathway to the formation of a new European Super League cleared, sports development company A22 has already released plans for a new 32-club competition, threatening Uefa’s flagship Champions League tournament.

The proposal from A22 would features leagues for 64 of the continent’s top men’s clubs and 32 teams in a women’s competition.

The men’s competition would feature three leagues – the Star League (16 teams), the Gold League (16 teams) and the Blue League (32 teams), with promotion and relegation between each tier.

The bottom 20 teams from the Blue League, the lowest tier, would be relegated from the competition and replaced by top-performing clubs in European domestic leagues.

Among Europe’s elite clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona have so far welcomed the ruling which opens way for a new league. The Spanish sides were among 12 clubs to put their names to the 2021 Super League plan.

The verdict has resurrected fears among fans that clubs could abandon their domestic leagues, which brought about widespread protests outside stadiums following the announcement of the original proposals two years ago.

Football Supporters Association chief executive Kevin Miles said: “There is no place for an ill-conceived breakaway super league.

“Supporters, players and clubs have already made clear they don’t want a stitched-up competition – we all want to see the trigger pulled on the walking dead monstrosity that is the European Zombie League.

“While the corpse might continue to twitch in the European courts, no English side will be joining. The incoming independent regulator will block any club from competing in domestic competition if they join a breakaway super league.

“Success must be earned on the pitch, not stitched-up in boardrooms.”

From the perspective of fans, the new league would abandon meritocracy, with a handful of clubs plucked from their domestic leagues to take part in the proposed competition.

However, the new proposals do include the possibility of promotion and relegation between domestic leagues, unlike the 2021 plans.

The wave of fans’ resistance in the summer of 2021 was so heated that protests immediately sprung up across Europe, including outside Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground where fans blocked their own players from leaving their team bus.

The six English Premier League clubs involved quickly jumped ship, effectively stopping the project in its tracks.

The anger eventually led to the resignation of Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

Having rowed back on the plans just days after they were announced, Manchester United were quick to put out statement re-affirming their commitment to Uefa and the Premier League following the latest announcement.

“We remain fully committed to participation in Uefa competitions, and to positive co-operation with Uefa, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game,” the club said in a statement.

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