‘Traditionalist’ Ange Postecoglou opposes European Super League

Photograph: Alex Morton/Tottenham Hotspur FC/Shutterstock

Ange Postecoglou has described football’s breakaway conspirators as “detached from what this game is all about” as he talked up the power of fans to stand in the way of change they did not want.

The Tottenham manager made clear his opposition to a European Super League on a day when Arsenal and Liverpool put out statements to affirm their commitment to the existing structures of competition. Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs and Chelsea had done the same on Thursday; the six were signatories to the idea of a Super League in 2021 before they withdrew after a supporter backlash.

Related: English clubs throw weight behind Uefa after European Super League ruling

The issue is being pushed again, repackaged by A22 – the company behind the original project – after the European court of justice ruled on Thursday that Fifa and Uefa had contravened EU law when they prevented the formation of a Super League. The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, said that he remained against it, although he was pleased to see the authority of Fifa and Uefa get a “shake” in the court ruling.

Of the six other clubs to back the proposal in 2021, Real Madrid and Barcelona remain on board while Juventus and Milan have not yet commented. Internazionale and Atlético Madrid have rejected it.

“The response it got the first time around is a pretty good indicator of where it sits within the footballing fraternity,” Postecoglou said. “I always think with these concepts that they’re done in a room with people who sometimes are detached from what this game is all about. I’m a traditionalist. I don’t like the game changing too much.

“They think it’s a great idea and then they walk outside that room and they’re faced with reality. The one thing that whole period showed us, because we were just coming out of Covid, was that without fans you’re struggling. It was still being shown on TV but no one can tell me it was the same product.

“It’s kind of a throwaway term that ‘without the fans, football is nothing’ but it does ring true. You’d like to think before they make any of these decisions or ideas come up again, they get a better feeling for what the people who are most important to the game are feeling. Not just the supporters but even the players. My biggest concern at the moment is the saturation of the product … ultimately performances will suffer. If the punters don’t like what they see and don’t turn up, it ain’t going to work.”

Postecoglou was asked whether it made him proud to see how the fan protests derailed the Super League in 2021. “I love the fact that … power to the people,” he replied. “It’s good that they still have a voice.”

Related: Revamped European Super League may flop but the door for change is now open | Paul MacInnes

Klopp said he agreed “100%” with Liverpool’s position and had the “same opinion I had before” on the Super League. “But I like the verdict [of the European court] anyway,” he added. “I like that we get a little bit of understanding that Fifa and Uefa and other FAs cannot just do what they want, putting in competitions with more games and no-one has a real say in it. I like that they get a bit of a shake – ‘OK, you cannot exactly do what you want’.”

The Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta, said his club “love playing in the Champions League and we’ll continue to do so”. He added: “Football supporters and the passion they bring to the game is the main reason this game belongs to them. We have to look after them.”

The Napoli president, Aurelio De Laurentiis, said his club was ready to hold talks over the new project. “Those who have governed up to now as monopolists have not understood that football is a business and needs growing revenues,” he said. “If I invest hundreds of millions to participate in a circus that distributes peanuts, makes no profit and forces me to play more and more to keep an unproductive bandwagon going, the game is not worth it.

“I spoke with [the Madrid president] Florentino Pérez and we agree to put some real entrepreneurs around the table, not just nominal presidents. Today, football is administered by elderly people but above all they are without vision.”


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