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European Super League collapse shows there’s no football without fans – NFF vice-president Akinwunmi

18:56 BST 21/04/2021
Seyi Akinwunmi, European Super League GFX
The European league had reached a breaking point after nine out of the 12 founding clubs pulled out amid intense pressure

The first vice-president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi has stated the collapse of the European Super League shows there is no football without fans.

Late on Sunday night, 12 teams across Europe including Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Juventus formed a breakaway league of their own.

But the decision did not go down well with fans, Uefa, their respective league authorities and a host of other clubs who have condemned the development in the last two days.

In addition to social media protests, fans in England took to their clubs’ stadiums to express their displeasure which has made the six Premier League clubs back down from the Super League alongside Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan.

The backlash also forced Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward to step down with apologies from several clubs to their supporters.

When asked if the European Super League development could affect African football, Akinwunmi told Goal: “Certainly. The two lessons learnt from this episode reverberates and will be reiterated around the world including Africa that without the fans there is no football and the football administration structures are in place for stability/fairness which must be respected.

“They, in turn, must listen to the yearnings of the clubs and appreciate their role in sustaining the multibillion-dollar product called football.”

Akinwunmi, a former chairman of Lagos State Football Association, highlighted the beauty of open competition as well as the Champions League.

“The fans and the majority of football have spoken of my view,” he continued. “I grew up watching the leagues of the various countries and enjoyed the competition for Champions League places, been to Champions League matches and seen the value of such an open competition that impacts our enjoyment of football even far away here in Africa. I, therefore, could not be in support of anything that detracts from such competitiveness.”

Earlier on Tuesday, the Super League chairman and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli admitted that the breakaway league cannot go ahead following the withdrawal of nine clubs.

"To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case,” Agnelli said.

“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project. But admittedly ... I mean, I don’t think that that project is now still up and running.”