- 12 clubs threatened to break away
- Fierce opposition to proposals
- Plans ripped up inside 48 hours
WHAT HAPPENED? In the spring of 2021, it was revealed that 12 leading sides from across the continent had conspired to form their own breakaway competition. United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan were all willing to head in a different direction, only to see fierce opposition from fans and governing bodies lead to proposals being ripped up inside 48 hours.
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WHAT THEY SAID: Ceferin, who was willing to ban those involved from UEFA competitions, has told Gary Neville’s ‘The Overlap’ for Sky Sports of the ringleaders behind a project that had been speculated on for some time: “As much as I know, unfortunately your club's [United's] owners were very much involved and Liverpool as well. I think that those two were from the English side the most involved [in the Super League]. The last to join were Chelsea and Manchester City. I'm not sure about Tottenham and Arsenal.
“When I arrived in Switzerland, I got a phone call from one of the English clubs saying that we'll have to join this project. They didn't like it but didn't want to be the only ones out. Two clubs were hesitating in England very much, they said they wanted to stay friends with us, our friends from within. Both Chelsea and Manchester City were hesitant from the beginning, and it was one of these teams that called me. I had a phone call from one of the English clubs, I will not say which. I lost it a bit and said, 'You go to hell. From tomorrow, you are my enemies. I don't want to speak to you any more'. It was tough.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Talk of a Super League being formed at some point in the future refuses to go away, with there suggestions that an expanded format would make the concept less of a closed shop and heighten its appeal to those that were initially left on the outside looking in.
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WHAT NEXT? Ceferin, in partnership with FIFA and the various governing bodies of major divisions across Europe, will be doing all he can to ensure that no divides are allowed to threaten continental football, with Champions League reform already on the cards in a bid to make that competition even more entertaining.