The soccer news starts with English soccer pundits calling for government regulation in the aftermath of The Super League attempt at a breakaway competition. Gary Neville posted an open letter to Medium on behalf of a group of television pundits and journalists that is already gaining wide support in England. It asks for “Government legislation to block any Premier League clubs attempting to abandon the country’s football pyramid” and “The appointment of an Independent Football Regulator.”
It didn’t take long for some to ask what the role of the Football Association would be under such a plan. The FA is the sanctioning body of the Premier League and the Football League is a constituent. Taking legal and regulatory steps to block a club from potentially joining a different league seems to miss the point of a breakaway. That’s not to say pundits and fans should accept what a club decides to do, but it also points to the problem of what The Super League represented.
Regardless of what it might have eventually become, The Super League was a replacement for the Champions League. That was primarily a UEFA problem, which was why European soccer’s governing body responded so categorically. None of the leagues with clubs involved in The Super League project have announced penalties against those teams. Two of the three have already seen a Super League club win the title and the same thing will happen with the third. We already know that a Super League club will win the Champions League.
How that will resonate over the summer is an open question. It’s something all involved at the elite level in Europe should want to answer and quickly. How much any single government can do even in the era of Brexit is part of that, but it’s hard to see any individual government taking the kind of substantive action that would fully appease fans. That in no way should suggest that authorities shouldn’t try.
What triggered these issues was yet another Champions League revamp. There’s now a push to undo some of what UEFA has announced for the 2024 changes to the biggest club competition in world soccer. That may end up being the next important step. Should UEFA choose to reopen the Champions League without attempting to appease the elite clubs, they could create something interesting for European soccer. “Interesting” may not be the same as “highly lucrative,” which is the problem across the game’s top level.
Coaches are normally the ones that deal in expectation management. It’s a part of their game, even when it ends up leaning on the same cliches. Now, it’s European soccer’s leadership needing to do expectation management and it’s on a shorter timescale than we normally see. Whether or not that leadership accepts that, it’s the best way to try to salvage something valuable from the backlash to The Super League.
AP reports on the Neville letter and government regulation in English soccer. ESPN’s Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens with reports of Barcelona in the market for a coach. The NY Times’ Rory Smith on the situation with Juventus and coach Andrea Pirlo. DW on the resignation of Germany’s federation president Fritz Keller.
CBS Sports’ Roger Gonzalez has Serie A interest in Boavista and USMNT player Reggie Cannon. MLSsoccer’s Matt Doyle reviews week 5 in Major League Soccer. The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas explains the situation with the Copa America scheduled for July and protests in Colombia.
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