Liverpool Football Club have released an indifferent and insufficient statement acknowledging they’re out of the Super League.
It’s official. Liverpool are out of the Super League. And they’re grudgingly willing to acknowledge it by way of a limp and lifeless 47-word statement on the matter.
Since we wouldn’t want to steal their thunder completely by writing a lead-in significantly more robust than the statement itself, without any further ado, here it is in all its glory:
Liverpool Football Club can confirm that our involvement in proposed plans to form a European Super League has been discontinued.
In recent days, the club has received representations from various key stakeholders, both internally and externally, and we would like to thank them for their valuable contributions.
It’s not much, and it probably won’t help to mend the newly opened rift between Fenway Sports Group and the club’s legacy fans that has taken place over the past 48 hours as the owners burnt through a decade of hard-earned goodwill pushing a massively unpopular proposal, but at least they’re out.
Now, the question turns to how fans of Liverpool and the other English clubs, both the six that pushed for the formation of a Super League and the rest, react.
It’s all well and good to say this unpopular Super League proposal—a proposal spearheaded by Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus—appears dead, but UEFA’s proposals for an expanded Champions League hardly seem any better.
Meanwhile, the game is rife with festering issues of finances, access, and equality all the way down the pyramid. If there’s a time to try to address any of them, that time is probably now.
And given the unhappiness this debacle has inspired, there does seem a real chance right now for fans of the game to earn real concessions—perhaps even to push for reforms that would include fan ownership based on the German 50+1 model.
For now, though, at least the Super League appears off the table. For the time being at least. Even if the club couldn’t even stretch as far as Arsenal by mentioning the fans or offering any kind of an apology.
Led by captain Jordan Henderson, Liverpool players have come out against FSG’s efforts to push through a Super League.
At Manchester United, vice chairman Ed Woodward is out. Conflicting reports have Andrea Agnelli stepping down at Juventus. More will likely follow given the scale of the failure by some of Europe’s richest to push through their hugely unpopular proposal.
Liverpool, for now at least, remain in the fold—or if they’re out they’re not saying anything, which would at least be in line with the cub’s owners saying nothing at any stage of this debacle.
Instead, from the start of it Fenway Sports Group have seemed content to leave it to others to argue their case and for Liverpool’s players and manager Jürgen Klopp to face the heat from fans and the media.
Now, though, the payers have responded en masse, with captain Jordan Henderson leading the way and posting a shared message on social media. The rest of Liverpool’s first team players quickly followed suit.
For the fans. For the city. https://t.co/JrLav3fhTo
— Trent Alexander-Arnold (@TrentAA) April 20, 2021
Even with public sentiment heavily against the Super League proposal, it always takes nerve and represents risk to stand up to ownership, no less for a football player regardless their celebrity or wage packet.
It’s a move that should be commended for all Liverpool’s players—and in particular for their captain. Now it remains to be seen whether those at Fenway Sports Group responsible for the mess of the last few days will show similar nerve and own up to their mistakes.
Liverpool had been key in trying to push a European Super League into existence and FSG’s relationship with the fans may never recover as a result.
The dream of a European Super League as envisaged by Liverpool, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus appears dead, at least for the time being, as three of clubs that had agreed to come on board with them have today walked away from the undertaking.
Chelsea were the first to defect, as London’s Blues announced their departure from the Super League early on Tuesday evening. They were quickly followed by Manchester City and then La Liga side Atletico Madrid in announcing they would not take be taking part.
The four key founding members have made no announcements. Neither have the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, AC Milan, or Inter Milan. While not rejecting the new league, Barcelona have stated they will not push ahead without the support of their voting socios.
As positive as the news is, UEFA’s proposed expanded Champions League that is likely to go through now is hardly any better than a Super League, and the governing body’s Financial Fair Play failures are a key reason in why we’re currently talking about a Super League.
It’s also hard to overstate just how disappointing it is for Liverpool to have been one of the key players pushing for a closed Super League that would have relegated English domestic football to an afterthought and all but certain to go the way of the domestic cups.
After a decade of hard work overcoming skepticism and building a relationship with a fanbase burnt by the toxic ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett, over two days Fenway Sports Group have largely alienated many of the club’s so-called legacy supporters.
It is difficult to envisage a way back for them from this. The Super League may be over for now, but Liverpool as a club—and the relationship between fans, players, and owner—has been significantly damaged by their actions, as has its reputation in the game.
The English league isn’t happy about a Super League that would devalue it as a competition.
Following a meeting of the 14 Premier League sides and league officials not involved in a proposal of a breakaway European Super League, the governing body for England’s top flight says it is considering actions to hold the breakaway clubs to account.
Given the importance and competitiveness of Premier League stands to suffer if the plans led by Manchester United and Liverpool in England—and with Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and Tottenham also signing on—go ahead, it’s hardly a surprise.
“The Premier League, alongside The FA, met with clubs today to discuss the immediate implications of the Super League proposal,” read the league’s statement. “The 14 clubs at the meeting unanimously and vigorously rejected the plans for the competition.
“The Premier League is considering all actions available to prevent it from progressing, as well as holding those Shareholders involved to account under its rules.”
The proposed Super League plan would do away with European qualification via league position and block off sides with aspirations of European involvement like Leicester City or West Ham United—both of whom are currently in the Champions League places.
Over the long term, that would also lead to a situation where games in the second half of the season wouldn’t matter for clubs not directly in the title race, leading to a devalued competition in much the same way the domestic cups have over time been devalued by the expansion of the Champions League and Europa League.
It’s a proposal that would have real long-term financial consequences for the league—and as such they certainly aren’t acting out of altruism—as it risks relegating the Premier League to second tier competition status.
As such, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility the league could seek to punish the involved sides heavily if they insist on pushing ahead with their plans, given that if a Super League succeeds it would do lasting long-term damage to the Premier League.
“The League will continue to work with key stakeholders,” the statement continued, “including fan groups, Government, UEFA, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA to protect the best interests of the game and call on those clubs involved in the proposed competition to cease their involvement immediately.
“The Premier League would like to thank fans and all stakeholders for the support they have shown this week on this significant issue. The reaction proves just how much our open pyramid and football community means to people.”
Fenway Sports Group’s lack of respect or consideration for the faces of the club has been striking.
Since confirmation late on Sunday that 12 of Europe’s richest clubs intended to form a breakaway European Super League, it has been difficult to ignore that those who made the decisions have hid in the background and left those who didn’t to face the consequences.
Managers and players have been left to face the press and try to handle the criticism without having known the Super League was coming or even having since been briefed on why their clubs are moving towards it, leaving them to fill in the blanks themselves.
The cowardice, the lack of basic respect or consideration for the faces of the clubs involved in the attempted founding of the Super League, has been striking, and it doesn’t look as though Liverpool’s players and coaching staff will be getting answers any time soon.
“We know that this announcement has provoked strong feelings within the game and elsewhere,” read the first attempt to bring them into the loop, an email from chief executive Billy Hogan on Monday as Jürgen Klopp and the players prepared to face Leeds United.
“We believe this decision is in the best long-term interests of Liverpool Football Club. Importantly, and we can now start an engagement process with you, supporters, and key stakeholders. I will keep you updated and discuss further on our Town Hall tomorrow.”
According to David Lynch of This Is Anfield, Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting has since been cancelled, leaving all those who work for the club largely still in the dark two full days and one Premier League game after news of the planned Super League began to break.
Beyond the cowardice and inconsideration shown by leaving club staff in the dark, given players and coaching staff would need to at least accept the vision for it to be implemented it seems almost preposterous they have been left to draw their own conclusions.
From a basic human standpoint, Fenway Sports Group’s treatment of the public faces of Liverpool Football Club in their Super League rollout seems crass and immoral. From a business standpoint, it lands as simple incompetence.
Kano Pillars midfielder Tamara Ojudigha Ezekiel says the squad is excited with the prospect of playing alongside Super Eagles Captain Ahmed Musa.
Musa who joined Pillars until the end of the season trained with the Sai Masu Gida for the first time on Monday ahead of the second stanza of the league.
Speaking to brila.net after Monday’s training session, Tamara said the arrival of the former Leicester City and Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia forward has lifted the mood in the squad.
The midfielder added that it’s a pleasure to share the pitch and dressing room with players of Musa’s caliber.
“His addition has lifted the mood in the squad, we are happy to see him train and compete with us”
“You don’t get the opportunity to share a dressing room and pitch with a player like him often, we hope to tap from his experience and hopefully he can help us too,” he told brila.net
On his personal target for the second stanza of the season, The former Lobi Stars of Makurdi defensive midfielder, said: ” The target is to continue my development and keep improving .”
“Obviously it was difficult not to be involved in the first half of the season, but I’m happy, everything has been sorted. I’m training hard and getting ready to showcase myself to the world again”. He concluded.
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Almeria coach José Gomes, delivered a positive verdicts on Sadiq Umar and his teammates after home draw against Espanyol at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos on Monday night.
Umar netted the opening goal for promotion-chasing Almería, but the lead lasted for just three minutes as the visitors equalized a moment later.
The draw leaves Almeria ten points behind Spanish Segunda B leaders Espanyol, but José Gomes hinted that the result will give Umar and his teammates’ confidence to continue their search for promotion.
“This tie has to give us confidence for what lies ahead.”
“We wanted more, but we weren’t playing against just any rival, but against a strong and organized one. Espanyol is in its best moment of the season ”.
“The two attacks were balanced and the defenses were better, It was a very well-played game, with a lot of quality from the players.” He told reporters after the game.
Umar Sadiq has now netted 18 goals in all competitions for the Rojiblanco who is currently third on the league standing following the draw.
Delta Queens coach, David Ochei has turned his attention to the next game match against Rivers Angels after his side’s win against Edo Queens at the 2021 Nigeria Women Football League (NWFL) Premiership Super Six.
The experienced gaffer is confident that the opening day win against hard-fighting Edo Queens will put his team in proper shape for the match against one of the favorites Rivers Angels.
Goals from Chiamaka Okwuchukwu and Folorunsho Comfort propelled Delta Queens to a 2-1 triumph over Edo Queens after Nneka Julius had equalized for the latter.
“It’s a very tough game and since it’s the first match, it is important. It doesn’t matter how one plays, the most important thing is to go for the goals first.
“The game is important because, in a short-term competition like this, your first win is very important as it will propel one for the next match. Psychologically, it will bolster the team morale.” Says David Ochei during his post-match interview after Delta Queens’ 2-1 win over Edo Queens.
Coach Ochei added: “We have played before. 60% of our team in 2018 are with Rivers Angels. We want to see what we can do as we look forward to the second game and prepare the girls again for the game.”One of the club new recruits, Chiamaka Okwuchukwu scored the opening goal for Delta Queens.” He concluded.
The Reds missed out on the full three points against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Regardless of the news dominating the football world over the last 48 hours, the games continue on. Liverpool traveled to Elland Road to take on Leeds United on Monday night to continue their fight for a top four spot. How much a top four spot even matters anymore remains to be seen, and maybe that uncertainty contributed to Liverpool conceding a goal in the 87th minute that cost them all three points.
Despite a strong first half that was capped by a goal by Sadio Mane, the Reds could only go back to Merseyside with a single point after allowing in a set piece goal at the death.
James Milner attributed the drop off in performance to player fatigue.
“First half was very good, second half we looked very tired,” Milner said. “When you’re in that situation you need to push up and you need to keep the ball better than we did, so that was disappointing. Probably the Madrid game took a lot out of us as well… first half was good but to beat a team like Leeds you’re going to have to put in a good 95 minutes and we didn’t do that.”
While Liverpool did play in the Champions League last Wednesday, they had the benefit of playing the Monday night game and getting an extra few days of rest. However, if Milner is talking about psychological fatigue? Then same, my man.
“We had chances. Again, it’s the same sort of thing, not taking those chances,” he continued.
“A small positive again is that we’re creating those but it’s disappointing, especially when you’ve led for so long. Ali made some great saves but they had chances so maybe a draw is a fair result in the end.”
This wet fart of a game was the perfect cap to the last 24 hours that preceded it.
The boss weighs in on his thoughts after Liverpool’s draw with Leeds United.
The football today was a surreal experience. With news of this Super League on the top of everyone’s minds, the Reds playing an actual match was somewhat anti-climatic. This was compounded by the fact that it’s hard to care about the Reds sneaking into the top four when their European tournament future is so up in the air.
But Liverpool played. And Liverpool gave up a late goal that robbed them of all three points. After, once the Super League questions were out of the way, Jürgen Klopp was asked about the match he just oversaw.
When asked if a draw was a fair reflection of the game, Klopp admitted, “Yeah, probably in the end. We played a really good game in the first half, a really good game[…] Then we got step by step a bit deeper, defended deeper, and that makes no sense. That doesn’t help. But it’s an intense game to play against them so we dropped deeper, it was not right but it happened, so they created, especially with set-pieces, big chances. Ali made two, at least, really good saves[…] Yes, when you are that long 1-0 up, it’s quite frustrating when you don’t get it over the line.”
It’s been a while since Liverpool blew a win by conceding a late goal. The feeling isn’t great, because it’s never fun watching Liverpool fail to win. However, the feeling of urgency for Liverpool to win every available point in their remaining games is a flicker of what it would have been before this news.
Hey, I guess that’s one good thing about this news then.