The idea of the European Super League still stalks the world’s football corridors.
As expected, and the world’s football governing body, FIFA, through its president, Gianni Infantino, decided to address the issue and why football is facing challenges, especially from millennials.
“I am the president of FIFA and my responsibility is to defend football as a whole and all around the world,” Infantino began in an interview with AS.
“I have been very clear in what is mine and FIFA’s position on this matter. We stand by UEFA in rejecting the Super League. We are against it and we will always be against any competition which is not part of the international structures of football and that threatens the unity and solidarity that should always exist in the football pyramid, which links grassroots and amateur level to the top stars.”
Twelve European teams -Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Atletico Madrid sought to create a European Super League [ESL] in April, an idea that was killed by an uproar from fans and the European governing body, UEFA, as well as from FIFA.
UEFA revealed on Friday that nine of the group, apart from Juventus, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, have agreed to fines and signed an agreement that they will desist from signing up to play in the ESL in the future.
Infantino continued: “Our game is so incredibly successful also because there is a bond, a link between the bottom and the top of the pyramid. Between a girl or a boy playing in school or on the streets and a professional player scoring a goal in the final of a big competition. The clubs are an essential part of that pyramid.”
One factor that drew the ire of many football fans worldwide was the imposed desecration of the football pyramid, that allows small sides to dream of glory in the game.
Infantino reiterated his distaste for the breakaway league, saying, “Let me be very clear on that. FIFA and me, personally, support UEFA and its president against the Super League.
“Either the clubs want to be part of the football structures, or they will have to face the consequences. This is obvious and I am sure they know that.
Though the FIFA president was all for sanctions that could man fines and bans, he believes more dialogue will help solve many of the challenges faced by the legacy clubs and football. “I would like all the parts to get together and have a constructive dialogue to find the best solutions to everyone. A peaceful solution is always better than a conflict.
“Everyone in football knows how important are those big clubs that make so many millions of fans in their home countries and around the world vibrate but we also need to take care of the not so big clubs, leagues, and federations, which are not at the top of the pyramid but ensure that football is played and promoted all around the world.”
The ESL idea will continue to reverberate around the football world for a while.
This is because, amongst other factors, some of the biggest football clubs remain angry and frustrated at their dwindling bank balance and influence on the game.