As it happened: European Super League threatens to shake up 'beautiful game'

From Matias Grez, Rob Picheta, Ben Church and John Sinnott, CNN

Updated 5:22 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
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5:55 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Premier League says new competition would 'destroy the dream' of football fans

By Kevin Dotson, Brad Lendon and John Sinnott

The European Super League plan also threatens to complicate the 12 clubs’ relationships with their respective domestic leagues.

England’s Premier League, the most watched of the world’s football leagues, condemned the Super League plan as a blow to the hopes of the millions of fans who support smaller clubs in England and around Europe.

Under current rules of relegation and promotion based on on-the-field performance, any club can hope to compete against the powerhouse teams at some point.

The Premier League says it opposes the breakaway European Super League.
The Premier League says it opposes the breakaway European Super League. Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream,” a Premier League statement said.

“It is clear that this would be damaging to English and European football at all levels and will attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are fundamental to competitive sport,” said a statement from England’s Football Association, which oversees one of the sport’s oldest and most-storied competitions, the FA Cup.

5:56 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Governing bodies lambast plans for Super League

By Kevin Dotson, Brad Lendon and John Sinnott

It’s fair to say that initial reaction to European Super League has been overwhelmingly hostile.

FIFA said that it would not recognize the breakaway organization and went so far as to say that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organized by FIFA or their respective confederation.”

FIFA says players could be banned from competing in the World Cup.
FIFA says players could be banned from competing in the World Cup. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images

That would include football's top international competition, the World Cup, which is held every four years; the Champions League, which now brings together Europe’s best clubs every year, and any regional competitions like the European Championship or the Africa Cup of Nations.

In UEFA’s Sunday statement, it referenced FIFA’s earlier statement stressing that Super League clubs “will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

4:49 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

'Irresponsible to irreparably damage' European football

By Kevin Dotson, Brad Lendon and John Sinnott

What’s striking about the so-called European Super League is which clubs aren’t part of it, notably Bayern Munich and Champions League semifinalist Paris Saint-Germain.

Christian Seifert, CEO of the German Football Association (DFL), said his organization opposes the concept of a European Super League.

“Economic interest of a few top clubs in England, Italy, and Spain should not lead to the abolishment of established structures in European football as a consequence,” Seifert said in a statement.

Seifert added that it would be “irresponsible to irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football.”

Christian Seifert presents Bayern Munich with the 2020 Bundesliga title.
Christian Seifert presents Bayern Munich with the 2020 Bundesliga title. KAI PFAFFENBACH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images