Chelsea fans protest Tuesday outside Stamford Bridge stadium in London, against Chelsea’s decision to be included among the clubs attempting to form a new European Super League. According to the Associated Press, Chelsea is preparing to remove itself from the 12 teams forming a breakaway Super League. Matt Dunham/Associated Press

Negative reaction to the proposed Super League in Europe continued to mount Tuesday, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino warning the 12 clubs that they “cannot be half in and half out” of the continent’s established soccer structure.

“If some elect to go their own way, then they must live with the consequences of their choice, they are responsible for their choice – concretely this means, either you are in, or you are out. You cannot be half in and half out. This has to be absolutely clear,” Infantino told the UEFA congress in Montreux, Switzerland.

In England, Premier League representatives said they “unanimously and vigorously rejected the plans for the competition” after meeting to discuss potential actions against the six prospective English members of the Super League.

Gianni Infantino

FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

On Sunday, 12 powerhouse clubs from England, Italy and Spain announced that they would break away from the UEFA Champions League to form the permanent backbone of a new Super League, an annual 20-team competition that would in essence decide the club champion of Europe. Since 1955, that title has been decided by the Champions League, which would lose much of its luster without the breakaway teams, who would still compete in their domestic leagues along with the new competition.

The move – a potential cash cow for the teams involved but also one that would shut out most of Europe – has been met with condemnation from many European soccer fans as well as from the continent’s power structure. On Monday, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin called the 12 breakaway teams “snakes” and said they were spitting “in the face of football lovers.”

But there is some support. The Associated Press is reporting that a Spanish judge on Tuesday issued a preliminary ruling stopping FIFA and UEFA from taking any immediate action or making statements against the Super League. The ruling by a mercantile court in Madrid said the soccer governing bodies are refrained from “directly or indirectly” hindering the creation of the Super League.


The ruling, made after a request by the Super League, said FIFA, UEFA and its members – including federations, clubs and domestic leagues – can’t threaten or sanction players and teams in the new competition.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters on Tuesday led a meeting of the 14 top-tier English clubs who were not involved with the proposal. Afterward, the Premier League issued a statement calling on the six English breakaway clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – to cease their involvement with the Super League, and said the Premier League “is considering all actions available” to stop the new venture.

According to the Associated Press, Chelsea is preparing to tell the Super League it wants out of the plan to form a breakaway competition. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Chelsea was yet to send its decision to the organizers of the  competition that would split the teams away from the existing Champions League.

The decision came as fans protested outside the club’s Stamford Bridge stadium.

English players also got involved Tuesday, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson calling for an emergency meeting Wednesday between the captains of all 20 Premier League clubs.

Infantino expressed hope that the Super League idea simply would go away.


“We can only and strongly disapprove of a Super League which is a closed shop, breakaway from current institutions,” he said. “No doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval. Full support to UEFA. We hope that everything will go back to normal, that everything will be settled, but always with respect, always with solidarity and with the interests of national, European and global football.”

UEFA has threatened to block the 12 breakaway teams from next season’s Champions League and the second-tier Europa League, even if the Super League is not yet operational (it hopes to be up and running in August). On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told leaders of the Premier League, the Football Association and English fan groups that he was considering legislative options to stop the six Premier League teams from joining the breakaway competition.

“He reiterated his unwavering support for the football authorities and confirmed they have the Government’s full backing to take whatever action necessary to put a stop to these plans,” Johnson’s office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister confirmed the Government will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop. He was clear that no action is off the table and the Government is exploring every possibility, including legislative options, to ensure these proposals are stopped.”

A Johnson spokesman told reporters that the prime minister could consider preventing players of the clubs involved from getting work visas and withdrawing police funding on match days for the breakaway teams.

Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola called on his club’s ownership to break its silence on the creation of a breakaway Super League, which he believes threatens the integrity and values of the sport.

“The right people have to clarify – they have the obligation, the duty, as soon as possible, today better than tomorrow, tomorrow better than the day after tomorrow, to come out all around the world,” Guardiola said. “Because it is a worldwide issue. Clarify what is the situation that is going to come, and the benefits, and why they took the decision these teams are going to play and the other ones not.”


Florentino Pérez, president of breakaway club Real Madrid who has been named Super League chairman, said he’s “completely sure” the participants of the new competition will not be thrown out of this season’s Champions League and criticized that competition’s format, saying it’s only “attractive from the quarterfinals” onward (the tournament in essence starts with a group stage in which teams play six games against three other clubs before moving on to a knockout round).

“We play against small teams that aren’t attractive. Young people prefer to entertain themselves with other things. But if we do it all season, five games on Tuesday, five on Wednesday, that would be unstoppable,” Pérez said during an appearance on a late-night Spanish talk show. “What would bring in money is the 15 clubs playing each other every week. That’s the greatest show in the world, there’s nothing like it. A Real Madrid-Manchester (United) or a Barcelona-Milan is more attractive than Manchester (United) against a small club.”

This year’s Champions League is down to the semifinals, with three of the four remaining teams – Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City – planning to play in the Super League.

Soccer legend David Beckham, who played for three of the Super League clubs during his career, expressed his dismay for the idea in an Instagram post.

“As a player and now as an owner I know that our sport is nothing without the fans,” he wrote. “We need football to be for everyone. We need football to be fair and we need competitions based on merit. Unless we protect these values the game we love is in danger.”

Beckham is president and co-owner of Inter Miami CF, a team that plays in the closed system of Major League Soccer in the United States.

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