Super League: Guardiola speaks out as Henderson calls emergency captains meeting

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Jordan Henderson, captain of Liverpool, has called an emergency meeting of the Premier League captains to discuss a response to the newly announced European Super League, as reported by Mike Keegan.

Since the announcement of the European Super League (ESL), fans of the ‘top 6’ clubs in the Premier League have been openly outraged and strongly opposed to the idea of their clubs involvement. So much so, fans have begun protesting and calling for action from the owners, managers and players of their club.

So far, managers have been hesitant to answer any questions in their pre and post-match press conferences. This, possibly due to the fact that they too were unaware of the plans until they were announced on Sunday evening. However, today Pep Guardiola took the opportunity to speak out in his pre-match press conference.

When asked when he first found out about the Super League, Guardiola answered, “A few hours before the statement was released”. He went on to say, “That’s why for all of us, for Jurgen, for Thomas – all the managers in the six teams – it is uncomfortable because we don’t have all the information.”

Talking about his personal opinion of the ESL proposal, Guardiola said,

“Sport? It is not sport when the relation between effort and success and reward doesn’t exist. It is not a sport. It is not a sport if success is already guaranteed. It is not a sport if it doesn’t matter if you lost. That’s why I said many times that I want the best competitions as strong as possible – especially the Premier League – and it is not fair when one team fights to arrive at the top and after cannot qualify because the success is already guaranteed just for a few clubs.” “The right people have to clarify; they have the obligation and duty as soon as possible to come out all around the world and clarify… why they took their decisions that these teams are going to play and not other ones. Ajax Amsterdam have four or five Champions League but will not be there?”

Guardiola taking the opportunity to speak out and give his opinion is extremely important if there is any chance of stopping the ESL from going ahead. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also stated, “I don’t like it [the Super League] either” in an interview after the game on Monday night where Liverpool drew 1-1 with Leeds. Before the game, the Leeds players had warmed up in a shirt which read ‘Earn it’ above the Champions League logo with the quote ‘Football is for the fans’ on the back.

Nevertheless, it is just as important that the players for these clubs also find the courage to speak publicly in opposition.

Today, it was reported by Mike Keegan. that Jordan Henderson has called an emergency meeting for the Premier League captains to discuss a response to the ESL which will take place on Wednesday. The meeting will include representatives from clubs who are included within the ESL and clubs who have been left out. (The Athletic )

It is very clear that the players of these clubs have been left entirely out of the loop in relation to the formation of the ESL. The Athletic have reported that a source close to the Man United players has said, “The boys aren’t happy. They feel exposed by the club, uninformed and as though the club didn’t bother to fill them in or consult them over career-influencing changes.”

Players from the six clubs involved in the ESL who have spoken out so far include James Milner who, in his post-match interview, stated, “I can only say my own opinion; I don’t like it and I hope it doesn’t happen, for the same reasons as everyone else”.

Bruno Fernandes shared an Instagram post to his story from Daniel Podence (which was written in opposition to the ESL) with the caption “dreams can’t be buy”. Whilst Marcus Rashford posted a photo of the banner which reads ‘Football is nothing without the fans’ in the Old Trafford stands.

The formation of a Super League could result in all teams involved being banned from competing in the Premier League and other European Cup competitions. Furthermore, Sky Sports has reported that UEFA may stop players in the Super League from competing with their national teams. However FIFPRO have said that they would “vigorously oppose measures” which would stop players from doing this.

The Government have also begun showing their concern and the BBC have reported that the government are willing to take “whatever action necessary”, including legislative options, to stop plans for a European Super League.

Reportedly, Downing Street have said the Prime Minister told his meeting with FA and Premier League officials that the government “will not stand by while a small handful of owners create a closed shop”. He has also said, “no action is off the table and the government is exploring every possibility, including legislative options, to ensure these proposals are stopped.”

The fallout from the ESL announcement on Sunday is far from over and with the Premier League captains due to meet tomorrow, alongside threatened action by the government, the chances of the ESL being stopped are beginning to increase ever so slightly.