The world of football has been plunged into crisis after clubs confirmed their plans to join a ‘European Super League’.
The official announcement came at 11pm on Sunday night (the hallmark of a good idea) – but the backlash had already begun.
Commentating on Manchester United’s win over Burnley, which was anything but super, Gary Neville said clubs should be “ashamed of themselves”. The former United right-back also said clubs should be hit with points deductions and even relegation.
In the meantime, Uefa are planning some serious punishments of their own. Indeed, according to journalist Chris Williams, there are many within Europe’s governing body who want to issue an immediate ban from all their competitions.
It was even rumoured that Uefa had suspended this season’s Champions League and Europa League, though it’s been clarified since that that is not an option being considered.
What is clear is that Fifa, Uefa and the Premier League are not taking the breakaway move lightly – and there could be a series of punishments.
Immediate ban from Uefa competitions
According to Fabrizio Romano, clubs and indeed individual players could be banned from Uefa competitions. That would mean clubs being kicked out of the Champions League and Europa League and wouldn’t qualify for the competitions in future.
Ban from Fifa competition
They would also be barred from the Club World Cup. It remains to be seen how bodies like the Football Association would respond, but the clubs could also forego their right to be a part of the FA Cup.
Existing titles stripped
There is no official confirmation, but it is being widely rumoured that clubs could even be stripped of their existing European trophies. So Liverpool would say goodbye to their six Champions League honours and Manchester United’s three would be chalked off.
Players banned from international football
It’s also being widely reported that international players from the represented clubs would not be able to serve their countries anymore, forfeiting the World Cup and European Championships.
Re-entry to the fifth tier
According to the Daily Mail, if clubs break away from the Premier League but then decide to come back in future, they would only re-enter English football’s pyramid in the fifth tier – so they would have to work their way up from non-league.
One option being discussed among fans – and one put forward by Neville – though it seems unlikely, is relegating the clubs who have signed up as a punishment for damaging the sporting integrity of their leagues.
The main incentive of the European Super League is to make revenue streams a closed shop – but clubs could be hit with fines for bringing their current competitions into disrepute in the meantime.
Another more immediate possibility is a potential points deduction. That would be difficult to enforce this season, but the Football League traditionally docks points at the start of a new campaign.
This comes down to the fans. The European Super League threatens to destroy football as we know it and sacrifice a century and a half of tradition. The vast majority of fans seem to be repulsed by the idea and that is not good news for the clubs involved, who are determined to gain additional TV revenue from the new system.
Football is clearly united to stop the European Super League in its tracks.