Why the planned Super League collapsed

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Apr 21, 2021, 10:50 AM GMT+1
Perez and Agnelli's dream has been left in tatters
Perez and Agnelli's dream has been left in tatters | GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

In an unprecedented few hours the proposed Super League imploded on Tuesday night, with the competition's future now in tatters.

The first club to officially announce their withdrawal was Manchester City but they were soon followed by the rest of the Premier League's so-called big six, with Man Utd, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal announcing their respective withdrawals almost simultaneously shortly before 11pm.

The doubts then spread across the continent with Barcelona and Milan reportedly out and the remaining clubs - except Florentino Perez's Real Madrid and Andrea Agnelli's Juventus, of course - said to be on the verge of losing faith.

The reasons for the Super League's implosion are numerous and complex, but below we have listed some of the biggest factors.

Threats of FA bans

West Bromwich Albion v Southampton - Premier League
The FA are believed to have threatened the clubs with Premier League expulsion | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

According to the Guardian, the Football Association are understood to have played a significant role in the collapse of the Super League.

Emboldened by the UK government's commitment to do whatever it takes to stop the breakaway competition, the FA threatened to kick the six rebel clubs out of domestic competitions - including the Premier League.

In addition, they also indicated that clubs wishing to play in the Super League would not be granted work permits for overseas players signed in the transfer window.

Fan pressure

Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Supporters' outrage help to force their owners' hand | Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

In the statements that signalled their departure, the six Premier League clubs were keen to assert that their decision was a result of them 'listening to supporters'.

While the truth of the matter is far more complex, it is obvious that fan protests did play a role. Right from the outset supporters have made their feelings clear. Liverpool and Leeds came together before their meeting on Monday night, while their were also protests outside the stadiums of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Seemingly the most effective demonstration of all was held by Chelsea supporters prior to their 0-0 draw at home to Brighton last night. Over 1,000 of the Stamford Bridge faithful turned up with big bags of cans and banners, singing anti-Super League chants and preventing the team bus from entering the ground, leading almost directly to the news that the club was pulling out.

Managers & players show opposition

Harry Maguire
Maguire led opposition at Old Trafford | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

It was not just fans who vociferously opposed these changes. Players and managers also got in on the act too.

On Tuesday Pep Guardiola spoke out about the lack of competitiveness in the closed-doors proposal, while Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel expressed more veiled concerns. Organised by Jordan Henderson, the Premier League captains also held an emergency meeting while others took matters into their own hands.

As reported by The Athletic, players at City, United and Arsenal all angrily confronted the powers that be, while many others pitched in their support on social media. This pressure no doubt contributed to the clubs' hands being forced.

Sponsors pulling out

As soon as the backlash to the Super League began, sponsors became worried about the toxicity of being associated with the breakaway Premier League clubs.

This came to a head on Tuesday night when one of Liverpool's partners, luxury watch brand TRIBUS, announced they were withdrawing their support.

"As the Official Global Timing Partner of Liverpool FC, and a family of dedicated life-long fans based in the City of Liverpool, TRIBUS (Watchmakers) Ltd cannot support the move by the clubs' owners to break away into a new competition, The Super League.

"Our values are at the forefront of everything we do therefore we will be withdrawing from this partnership.

"Football belongs to the fans and unites us all; it was never intended to benefit the few," their statement read.

Anything that hurt the rebel clubs' pockets was bound to give them cold feet. Therefore, it is little surprise that soon after this statement they began to fall like dominoes.

Rebuffed by Bayern Munich & others

Hans-Dieter Flick
Bayern were never tempted to sign up | Pool/Getty Images

Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund were the clubs earmarked for the other three permanent spots in the Super League.

After the trio of European giants turned this down, the project was always going to be difficult to get off the ground. The rejections of Napoli and Roma to join the party soon after also dealt a damaging blow to the plotters.

facebooktwitterreddit