As a slew of foreign-owned clubs announced plans to rip up European soccer by forming a breakaway Super League, one club with North American leadership was happy to announce its intention to keep the status quo.
“Despite the club’s two 4-0 victories this week, we can confirm that we will not be seeking membership to the newly uncovered ‘European Super League,’” read a post on Twitter from Welsh club Wrexham, which plays in England’s fifth division and was recently taken over by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
“The club,” it continued, “will be making no further comment.”
Reaction to the potentially seismic changes being pushed through by 12 of the world’s biggest clubs ranged from humor to sarcasm to condemnation and anger.
“We’ve won the same amount of Premier League titles as Tottenham,” said Irish club Bray Wanderers, following up its initial tweet – “We wish to confirm that we will not be taking part in any European Super League” – that has received more than 100,000 likes.
Neither club has ever won the Premier League title, though Tottenham won the English league title twice before the Premier League was founded in 1992.
Russian club Spartak Moscow turned directly to any fans from the 12 breakaway clubs who might be disgruntled by the developments.
“If you need a new club to support, we’re always here for you,” Spartak said. “Kind regards, FC Spartak Moscow.”
The general tone of the reaction was downright disgust, from the average supporter to those with close links to a group many are now calling “the dirty dozen.”
“Yesterday, the current board of (Tottenham) betrayed the club, its history and the magic that makes this game so special when they put their name to a statement announcing the formation of a breakaway European Super League,” the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said in a statement.
The group said Tottenham’s board was “prepared to risk the club’s reputation and its future in the opportunistic pursuit of greed” and called for a change of ownership if Tottenham did not immediately disassociate itself from the breakaway league.
Gary Neville, the former Manchester United defender who is now a commentator and owner of fourth-division English club Salford, described those running the breakaway clubs as “imposters” and called for the Premier League to punish the six English clubs involved with point deductions.
“They’re breaking away to a competition they can’t be relegated from? It’s an absolute disgrace,” Neville said in an impassioned rant on Sky Sports.
“We have to wrestle back power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league – and that includes my club,” he said, referencing American-owned United.
French clubs got a pat on the back from the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, for refusing to take part in the league, alongside those from Germany.
Macron’s office said the proposed league “threatens the principal of solidarity and sporting merit,” while the French government’s sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, criticized the proposed breakaway as “a VIP club to conquer the world, but a world conquest based only on marketing and sales, not sport.”
The only real mouthpieces for the breakaway clubs could be their coaches, who must hold news conferences before and after matches.
One of them, Atlético Madrid coach Diego Simeone, said he had “no doubt that my club will make the best decision for its future.”
“I’ll be prepared to coach wherever they tell me to coach,” Simeone said. “I have no doubt that the club will decide what is best.”
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.