European Super League: players and fans condemn controversial competition

European Super League: players and fans condemn controversial competition

Fan protests took place outside Leeds’ Elland Road Stadium and a banner reading ‘#saynotosuperleague’ was projected above the ground ahead of kick-off.

On the pitch, Leeds players wore jerseys with the words ‘Football is for the fans’ and ‘Win it’ alongside a Champions League logo during their warm-up – a reference to the teams due to qualify. to play in the Champions League, which is not the case for the founding clubs of the Super League.

Liverpool are one of 12 teams to have signed up for the competition, a separatist European league that currently features top teams from England, Spain and Italy.

A plane flies over Elland Road in protest against the European Super League.

Most of the teams involved in the competition, which could start as early as later this year and generate more income than current European competitions, would be permanent members.

“It’s amazing the things they talk about, I can’t quite understand them,” Leeds forward Patrick Bamford told Sky Sports after Monday’s game, which ended 1-1.

“It’s amazing the amount of uproar that goes into the game when someone is injured in the pockets. It’s a shame it isn’t like that with other things going wrong by the minute – with the racism.

“I haven’t seen a single football fan who is happy with the decision and I think football is ultimately for the fans. Without the fans every club would be next to nothing. So I think that it’s important that we stand our ground and show football is for the fans and try to keep it that way. “

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Leeds players protested against the European Super League ahead of kick-off.

The Super League announcement on Sunday drew widespread condemnation from the footballing world and beyond, including from players whose clubs have signed up for the league.

“I can only say my personal opinion, I don’t like it. I hope it doesn’t happen,” Liverpool captain James Milner told Sky Sports.

“The players obviously didn’t have a say so the reception we got on the pitch tonight seemed a bit unfair to us. We are here to play football and have no control over it.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp – whose side are sixth in the Premier League, two places outside of what would be an automatic Champions League qualification – spoke out against the concept of a European Super League in 2019 and reiterated his concerns on Monday.

“People are not happy, I can understand that,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“But I can’t say much more about it to be honest as we weren’t involved in any process, neither the players nor I didn’t know about it … we’ll have to wait (and see ) how it develops. “

“I obviously have no problem with the Champions League … I love that (fourth) West Ham could play in the Champions League next year. I don’t want them to, to be honest, because we want to do that, but I like that they have the chance. “

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Fans pose with a banner ahead of Monday's game.

The draw against Leeds was the first time since March 7 that Liverpool have lost Premier League points after three consecutive wins.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring for the visiting team by turning Trent Alexander-Arnold’s square pass into an open net in the first half.

However, Leeds pushed for the equalizer in the second half and finally equalized in the 87th minute when Diego Llorente came in from a corner.

Perez: Super League will ‘save’ football

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the first president of the Super League of which the club is a founding member, has explained how crucial the competition is to the long-term health of football.

Speaking to Spanish sports show El Chiringuito, Perez said the game had to adapt as young audiences “are no longer interested in football”.

“Football has to evolve, like life, like businesses, like us, like people, like thought processes,” he said.

“Social media has changed the way people behave and be entertained. Football has to change and it has to adapt to the times we live in … Something had to be done, but the pandemic told us that we need to do it urgently. “

Perez is the first president of the Super League.

Perez added that “the big clubs play each other” generates the most interest in the game.

“You will have understood that a Madrid-United or a Barcelona-Milan are more observable than a Manchester United against a smaller team playing in the Champions League because all countries participate.”

CNN’s Patrick Sung Cuadrado contributed to this report.

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