European Super League: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets ‘a shake’
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European Super League: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets ‘a shake’

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pleased that Uefa has had “a bit of a shake” after a court said banning clubs from joining the European Super League was unlawful.

European Super League: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets 'a shake'
European Super League: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets ‘a shake’

The European Court of Justice said on Thursday that Fifa and Uefa had “abused a dominant position”.

A revamped ESL was launched hours later but Liverpool, among several other clubs, have dismissed the project.

“I am delighted that we finally get a bit of an understanding,” said Klopp.

Liverpool were one of 12 clubs who joined then left the original ESL proposal in 2021 – along with Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

All of those clubs released statements on Thursday and Friday to say their “position has not changed” on the ESL and confirmed their commitment to Uefa competitions.

“I agree 100% with that statement [from Liverpool]. But I am delighted that we finally get a bit of an understanding that Fifa and Uefa and other bodies cannot just do what they want,” said Klopp.

The German also suggested it was an opportunity for issues in football, including fixture congestion, to be addressed.

“In the future we have to talk about a lot of stuff and if we just do the things they [Uefa] do – like putting in more competitions and playing more games – and we don’t have a real say in what is going on, I like that they get a bit of a shake,” he said.

Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin mocked the new ESL proposals but the head of A22, the organisation behind them, said fans and clubs can be convinced to back the plans.

What have other Premier League managers said?

Addressing the media for the first time since Arsenal’s statement against the ESL, Gunners manager Mikel Arteta said it is important to “look after fans” as they, along with the players, are the “protagonists” in football.

“Football supporters and the passion they bring to games is the reason this game belongs to them,” said Arteta.

“Their opinion is very important and we have to look after them.”

European Super League: Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets 'a shake'
European Super League: Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp pleased Uefa gets ‘a shake’

The breakaway ESL created in 2021 was designed to rival Uefa competitions, but the project was widely condemned by fans, supporter groups, European domestic leagues and even governments, leading to the collapse of the proposal within 72 hours.

Of the 12 clubs only Real Madrid and Barcelona have retained their interest in a breakaway league – proposed by A22 – with the rest backing down.

Arsenal’s statement added to those issued by numerous clubs across the continent from European heavyweights and domestic football leagues.

“We remain in the same position and we love playing in the Champions League and will continue to do so,” said Arteta.

“The conversations [with the owners] that we had were very clear after what happened two years ago. I think the club has issued a statement that is very clear and transparent. We’ll stick to that.”

Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou said he had not given the ESL “much thought” but that he is a “traditionalist” when it comes to rules.

“The reaction that you got the first time is how it sits with the football fraternity,” he said.

“These decisions and concepts are usually done in a room [of people] who detach what this game is all about.

“I am a traditionalist, I don’t like the game or rules changing too much. But I think that is a good barometer of how fans are about it.”

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe said on Friday he was against the idea of a Super League and agreed with Arteta that fans are the most important party in the discussion.

The Saudi Arabian-backed takeover of the Magpies took place after the collapse of the original ESL, which Newcastle were not involved in, but Howe said he would not be interested in seeing his side compete in the proposed new competition.

“I’d probably say I’m against it if you want a clear decision because I like the structure as it is,” Howe said.

“I think the big thing in England was our supporters of football let their feelings be known the previous time that this was mentioned, and really I think ultimately it’s their call which way they want this to go.”

The new proposal is for a league system that would include 64 men’s and 32 women’s teams, with annual promotion and relegation.

The view from outside England

While the idea of a Super League has quickly been batted away by Premier League clubs, the view from some on the continent is a little different.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, football journalist Guillem Balague said “fresh thinking is needed” to address issues that are “eating football alive”.

“Especially in England, you don’t have a lot of time to listen to the Super League’s side. But what is there not to like?” he said.

“They’re talking about football being free to search new ideas to improve the game. Clubs can openly discuss the future and the worrying trends in football like an excess of games, too many inconsequential games, and young fans turning away.

“The idea that you can show football for free – forget it. That is completely unsustainable financially. But it is the beginning of something and it may become something else when both sides start listening to each other.”

Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis joined his counterparts at Barcelona and Real Madrid in welcoming the court’s ruling on the Super League project and said they now need to do “some serious thinking”.

“Today football is administered by elderly people, but above all they are without vision,” De Laurentiis told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

Serie A champions Napoli were not one of the 12 clubs involved in the original breakaway league while fellow Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter Milan then Juventus all pulled out.

Italian journalist Mina Rzouki said: “My most important thing is I want a level economic playing field. I don’t want teams to be playing where there is such a huge gulf of difference in money.

“That drains the competition. If the Super League addresses that, it will have my vote.”

James Horncastle, another football journalist with expertise in Italy, added: “Ultimately may the best competition win. Breakaway is the wrong word. It is an adjacent competition. It will be something where clubs can now have the choice to go with what they think is best for their interests.”

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