Like a scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail, eight (and counting) of the 12 breakaway clubs saw their steely commitment a European Super League transform into a desire to “run away”. Liverpool owner, John W Henry, very eloquently said that he was never going to proceed without the support of fans, which I do not believe. The threat of expulsion by Fifa and Uefa, and legal action by the Government, were the deciding factors. Take the opportunity to listen to Henry’s comments, if only to hear him repeatedly refer to Liverpool as “LFC”. It is as though he learned all he knows about the club by text message.
As well as the English six, Atletico Madrid and Inter also withdrew. There was a time in 1991 when Kazakhstan was the only remaining soviet in the Soviet Union. Soon they Kazakhs will have something in common with a well-tailored European, probably from Madrid.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister called the breakaway a cartel, oblivious that football leagues everywhere are a cartel. The cartel in England and Wales excludes clubs from Scotland. If he was truly interested in building UK cultural ties, he would use his legislative threats to curb this cartel’s operations.
Although European Super League plans are shelved, no one in the game can be satisfied this morning. We now know there are billions of euros available to whoever can pull a deal together, money Uefa and the national leagues leave on the table. That thought will spark neurons until the next iteration becomes public. If you think the money men will shrug and walk away, you don’t know much about business.
Europe now needs leadership; people who can conceive competitions that allow clubs to reach the top of the game through merit alone, delivering some of that money left on the table. Maybe our man on the ECA will have some ideas.