Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have warned Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, insisting their new plans to create a European Super League will fail unless there is support from English clubs and fans after widespread opposition pushes their first project forward had thwarted.
Fears of the revival of the widely condemned league have increased in recent weeks after reports emerged that the three rebel clubs would make another attempt.
A22 Sports Management, which was formed last April to sponsor and assist the proposed 12-team breakaway competition, recently hired a new chief executive, Bernd Reichart. That was a statement of intent in itself, but Reichart went on to claim it could be operational by the 2024-25 season.
Gary Neville is an outspoken critic of widely condemned plans to launch a Super League
Jamie Carragher said he was not ‘100 per cent sure’ English clubs opposition have completely destroyed the project in the future
Real, Barca and Juventus have refused to give up plans that have sent shockwaves through football and are embroiled in a legal battle with UEFA and FIFA. They allege that the two organizations abused a dominant position under European competition law by first blocking the creation of the league and then punishing the clubs involved.
Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham withdrew after criticism from their own supporters and other key figures in the sport.
Carragher and Neville said: Sports post they were concerned that the project was not dead in the water, but said the rebels would have to come up with a viable proposal for the English game to even consider getting involved.
“The problem for the Super League is that it was the Premier League with a few foreign teams in it – that was it really,” said Carragher.
At least five of the teams that signed up for the controversial European Super League are now out of the Champions League’s last 16
“The real concern for those involved is the Premier League. They hate what’s happening in our league, they hate the fact that clubs in the middle of the Premier League might be able to outbid some of the past giants in other leagues, like the Italian League.
“The reaction from England stopped the Super League. Be it supporters, anyone on TV – we came across it so strongly it almost scared Premier League clubs.
“Whether that scares them off forever, I’m not one hundred percent sure. But I definitely think it happened for the next two years. Without the English clubs it is very difficult to make a Super League.”
Neville said the high-ranking honchos at the three clubs would never give up and urged governing bodies such as UEFA to “protect” the game.
The controversial plans were initially announced in April 2021, but fell apart within 48 hours
“You have these hugely rich people who have an ideology of what they want in their lives and they don’t stop until they get what they want,” he said. ‘That’s how they’re built and that’s why they’re so successful.
“They should be respected, but feared, when you consider that they run football clubs that are community goods in this country and that are important.
“We have a pyramid in this country that I believe is sacred. The problem is you have vested interests and greed and we have to protect against that because it won’t stop.
“Whether it’s UEFA, ECA or the clubs themselves, who have broken loose in the past when they thought ‘this isn’t right’, it’s going to happen.
Fans rioted after the plans were revealed, which included no relegation for the 12 members
“I feel we need protection in this country. Ultimately, no Super League can be set up in Europe [without the input of German clubs]. In fact it becomes a real problem because the German clubs will not go into this if it is something like last time because they are owned by supporters.
‘You can’t do a Super League without PSG, the German clubs, English clubs… so it’s dead in the water’ [at the moment]. They have to somehow come up with a proposal that encourages English football and that means English football fans.’
The urgency to move forward with the Super League will have increased at Barca and Juventus after both sides crashed out of the Champions League in the group stage.
Five of the twelve teams that tried to escape are not in the knockout round of the Champions League.
In addition to Barcelona and Juventus, Atlético Madrid have also been eliminated and dropped into the Europa League alongside Man United and Arsenal, who failed to qualify for Europe’s main club competition last season.
Clubs, including Juventus, led by chairman Andrea Agnelli, are not giving up on the project
The Overlap Live – featuring Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane – will hit OVO Arena Wembley in April for its biggest live show ever. For tickets and more information, visit www.cuffeandtaylor.com.