Tim Payton does not know when he will be able to attend the next football match at Arsenal’s London stadium. But he can say with certainty that he will not be wearing the team’s red and white jersey.

I’m picturing a funeral in funeral garb… Payton, who has been a season ticket holder for more than 35 years and a trusted member of the club’s board of directors. I imagine hanging a wreath on the outside.

Just so we’re clear: Nobody died. But fans of 12 of Europe’s oldest, most historic and most successful football teams, including Arsenal, are in disarray this week following the opening of a generously funded Super League that will irrevocably change the landscape of the sport.

These fans have unleashed a tsunami of anger against their teams, even though these clubs would be the immediate beneficiaries of the proposed league.

Under the new plan, a small group of elite teams from England, Spain and Italy, already among the richest sports clubs in the world, will compete under a new arrangement that will only make them richer. Opponents say it would undermine the integrity of hugely popular domestic leagues such as the English Premier League and the main pan-European competition, the UEFA Champions League.

I don’t want to call them the Dirty Dozen, he said.

Alexander Seferin,

President of the European Football Association, known as UEFA. But UEFA’s job is to develop football… and some people don’t understand that.

A Manchester United fan holds a sign in protest of the Super League outside Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Monday.


Jason Cairnduff/Reuters.

The most controversial point is that 15 of the 20 Super League teams (three teams will be added to the original 12 later) will be there forever, collecting huge payouts rather than qualifying season after season on merit. In other words, a group of 12 that brings together something like Real Madrid,

Manchester United,

Liverpool and Juventus actually want to create a league that is closed to foreigners, similar to the National Football League or Major League Baseball. (Other teams on the velvet rope include Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan and Internazionale).

Football is the only global sport with over four billion fans, president of Real Madrid and president of the Super League.

Florentino Perez

Said. And it is our responsibility as big clubs to respond to their wishes.

It is difficult to understand the desires of four billion people, except perhaps in this case. The reaction from die-hard fans was so sudden and surprising that even the most combative football fans immediately agreed on a problem. With teams firmly entrenched in communities for over a century, often combining social and political identities, the traditional order of sport is not something they take lightly.

All the fans I spoke to thought it was a betrayal of the club’s history.

Duncan Drasdo,

Head of the Manchester United Support Trust. They have succeeded in buying up our football clubs for profit instead of acting as guardians of cultural institutions.

Duncan Drasdo, Chief Executive of the Manchester United Trust, outside the Old Trafford Stadium, home of football club Manchester United, Manchester, England.


Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg News

The pavement in front of United’s home at Old Trafford became the scene of an impromptu protest on Monday. The fans held up a cloth in tribute to the Glazer family, owners of Man United and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their club was founded by the poor and stolen by the rich.

Many fans said they weren’t even sure if they would return to the stadium if the pandemic restrictions were lifted. A United fan who is definitely not coming back, with a viral video showing her taking the scissors for her season ticket. Although a thorough inspection showed that the losses were small: The pass was valid for the 2019-20 season.

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Less than 40 miles from Liverpool, fans staged their own protest outside Liverpool Football Club’s historic Anfield stadium. Their signs read LFC fans against the European Super League and Shame on you, RIP LFC 1892-2021. While they hung protest flags outside, they demanded that their support flags be removed inside the stadium.

The fact that the club has already filed the phrase It Means More – a statement of faith between the team and Liverpool City – makes the situation even more awkward than usual. Especially when she had to explain the move to Super League to a group of fans who were clearly offended: Liverpool staff themselves.

A protest poster hangs outside Anfield Stadium, home of English Premier League soccer club Liverpool, in Liverpool, England, Monday.


Paul Ellis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

We know this announcement has caused strong feelings in the game and elsewhere, the Liverpool manager.

Billy Hogan.

in all the staff memos the Wall Street Journal has reviewed. But we believe that this decision is in the long-term interests of Liverpool Football Club.

Football’s governing bodies now face an existential decision on how to deal with rebellious teams. UEFA announced on Monday that all players involved in the Super League, due to start in 2022, will be barred from participating in major tournaments such as the European Championship and the World Cup. The organization is also investigating whether it is legal to suspend the clubs’ activities as soon as possible, Seferin said.

For fans of non-Superclubs excluded from the Super League, the threat of sanctions is a tempting opportunity.

In East London, West Ham fans are calling for a blanket ban, not only to preserve the tradition of English football, but also because they have noticed an advantage. The Hammers are having their best season in years and are in fourth place. After Sunday’s news, they started circling the tables to see what the standings would look like if the six superclubs fell apart and their games were cancelled. It looks like West Ham are nine points off at the top with four games to go.

Even more surprising to the club’s supporters, they have an unlikely ally in the aristocratic chairman of the English Football Association.

I share fans’ concerns about the proposed Super League, Prince William tweeted, and the damage it could do to the sport we love.

It should be noted that the prince is an Aston Villa supporter. This club was also not invited to the Super League.

Email Joshua Robinson at [email protected].

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