The pushback by players, fans, and clubs towards a proposed European Super League has begun in earnest.
The pushback towards a proposed European Super League has begun in earnest, with Premier League team Leeds United taking a dig at the proposal, while fans and players alike have begun making their opinions known.
Leeds players warmed up for the game against Liverpool, one of the six English clubs to agree to join a breakaway Super League competition, with shirts adoring the UEFA Champions League logo on them, and a simple request: Earn it.
The proposed new competition would see the founding members participate in a marquee club competition regardless of their placement in their respective domestic leagues.
The shirts also had ‘football is for the fans’ written on the back.
“I haven’t seen one football fan who’s happy about the decision,” Leeds striker Patrick Bamford said after the game.
“I think football ultimately is because, and is for, the fans.
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“Without the fans, every single club would be pretty much nothing, so I think that it’s important that we stand our ground and show that football is for the fans, and try to keep it that way.”
Some Liverpool fans joined Leeds fans at Elland Road to protest, while others hung banners at the Reds’ own home ground.
“This doesn’t surprise me,” Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa said about the Super League.
“The fundamental problem is the rich always aspire to be more rich without considering the consequences for the rest.”
The game ended 1-1, thanks to a late Diego Llorente equaliser for Leeds.
The club had another cheeky pop at Liverpool after the game, calling them ‘Merseyside Reds’, a reference to the video game franchise Pro Evolution Soccer, where teams are given fake names due to licensing issues.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp said before the match that in regards to his repeated comments in past years condeming a Super League: “My opinion didn’t change.”
Post-match, he again reiterated that he and his players were not the drivers of the push for a Super League.
“We have nothing to do with it,” he said.
While Bamford was the first English Premier League player to publicly speak out against the announcement, several high-profile players voiced their disapproval on social media.
Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes spoke up against the competition on his Instagram story, while Liverpool stalwart James Milner said “I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen” when asked post-match.
PSG’s Ander Herrera accused the breakaway competition of being a case of the rich “stealing what the people created.”
Former Arsenal and Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Ozil said the decision was “really hard to understand,” and ex-Barcelona fullback Dani Alves said the dreams of small clubs should not be ruined.
Supporters of the clubs involved in the Super League have banded together to make their opposition known as well.
“We are working urgently and closely with each other,” read a statement from Liverpool supporter’s trust Spirit of Shankly.
“Despite our clubs’ behaviour we are unified in opposition to them and we will continue to do all we can collectively to stop these plans.”
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