The president of UEFA is pulling no punches when it comes to his reaction to the newly-formed Super League. In statements to the press, Alexander Ceferin called for sanctions against all 12 of the Founding Member clubs of the Super League, including Tottenham Hotspur, outright saying they should be banned from participating in UEFA sponsored European competitions, including the EUROs and the World Cup.
Alexander Ceferin: “These are so-called big clubs, it is clear that the big clubs of today were not always big clubs. Juventus were in Serie B, Man United before Sir Alex Ferguson was I don't know where”.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 19, 2021
"We will do the sanctions we can do within the law, of course”. #Uefa
This is not an idle threat. Banning all 12 of the clubs in the Super League from the Champions League (yes, even including Tottenham who aren’t going to be playing in it anytime soon) would effectively kill it, as it would result in the elimination of the vast majority of the most talented teams and footballing talent currently in the competition. Likewise, the threat of banning players from the upcoming EUROs would basically ruin the competition.
Case in point, Jake Fenner, a colleague of mine who writes for Bavarian Football Works (SBN’s Bayern Munich blog) took the time to compile all of the players from the so-called “Big Eight” international football teams who would be banned from playing for their countries and posted it in the SB Nation soccer slack channel. Just for fun, he also included the USA as well.
It’s... uh, an impressive list.
Argentina: 4 (Lo Celso, Messi (c), Agüero, Dybala)
Brazil: 10 (Alisson, Ederson, Danilo, Thiago Silva (c), Renan Lodi, Alex Telles, Felipe, Arthyr, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino)
England: 20 (D. Henderson, Walker, Chillwell, Stones, Maguire, Trippier, James, Dier, Shaw, Foden, Mount, Kane (c), Sterling, Alexander-Arnold, Saka, Winks, J. Henderson, Rashford, Abraham, Greenwood)
France: 15 (Lloris (c), Kante, Varane, Lenglet, Zouma, Ferland Mendy, Pogba, Ndombele, Rabiot, Sissoko, Lemar, Griezmann, Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Martial)
Germany: 7 (ter Stegen, Leno, Rüdiger, Havertz, Gundogan, Werner, Kroos)
Italy: 15 (Donnarumma, Bastoni, Emerson, Bonucci (c), Sensi, Barella, Chiesa, Bernardeschi, Chiellini, Romagnioli, D’Ambrosio, Calabria, Jorginho, Tonali, Gagliardini)
Portugal: 8 (Ruben Dias, Cancelo, Soares, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Jota, João Felix, Cristiano Ronaldo (c))
Spain: 20 (de Gea, Eric Garcia, Sergio Ramos (c), Pique, Busquets, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Rodri, Pedri, Marcos Llorente, Morata, Ferran Torres, Arrizabalaga, Sergi Roberto, Reguilón, Bellerin, Carvajal, Asensio, Ceballos, Fati)
USA: 5 (Pulisic, Steffen, Dest, Konrad, McKennie)
As much as I hate the Super League — and I really, really do — I have super conflicted feelings about UEFA issuing severe sanctions against players who have the temerity to have signed a contract for a Super League club at some point before yesterday and preventing them from playing for their country. Not only that, but doing so would be the very definition of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Should UEFA follow through with their threats — which also includes potentially removing teams from their domestic leagues — it will almost certainly result in huge antitrust lawsuits, and if successful a scorched earth footballing landscape that, without hyperbole, could threaten the very sport itself.
UEFA likes money just as much as the 12 Super League clubs do. It’s why they revamped the Champions League to allow for more teams and games, with a greater percentage of the revenue going to the top clubs. That doesn’t make the Super League the right thing to do, of course, and there’s a whole bunch of good reasons why UEFA is trying to play hardball, especially considering they feel like they have their backs up against a wall. I just have a slightly difficult time believing that when it comes down to it Europe’s football confederation will set fire to everything just to watch the world burn.