European Super League and Jose Mourinho sacked LIVE updates - reaction to controversial plans
Live updates and reaction to the huge news on Sunday evening of the formation of a European Super League that will see 12 of the biggest clubs in world football become part of its "founding members". Former players and fan groups from around the world have been united in their criticism of the new league, which is set to begin in August.
Explained: How will the European Super League work?
The Guardian has a copy of a document used to justify the formation of the ESL. The full story is on their website here, but here are the four key justifications:
Exceed fan expectations: “Our aim is to deliver to fans the best football possible while providing access for qualifying clubs to ensure the vibrancy of the competition and to maintain a strong commitment to the principle of sporting merit.”
Solidarity and sustainability: including “affordable ticket prices” and “reinvestment into the football pyramid via ongoing and substantial solidarity payments”. The document adds: “Super League solidarity payments will grow automatically with overall league revenues and will be more than three times higher than payments coming from the current European championship.”
Commitment to domestic leagues: “The new Super League has been designed around the principle of maintaining strong and vibrant local leagues and we will continue to compete each weekend in our national competitions as we always have.”
Readiness to change: “The Super League ownership and governance structure is designed to allow us to rapidly adopt and incorporate new ideas into the competition. Whether it’s changes in live match distribution formats, technology-enhanced rule implementation or player development, we can no longer rely on external bodies to drive progress in these areas.”
20:00 - 'The clubs must go'
Here's more on the possibility that the clubs in the ESL plans who are still in Europe will be booted from UEFA competitions this season.
And we have coverage of the match, and what goes on before it, here.
18:45 - Podence chips in
Taking a look at Daniel Podence's apparent dismissal of the ESL, you can see players such as Bruno Fernandes seem to support the sentiment.
18:20 - United, Real, Barcelona, City... Schalke?
There are rumours that with the ESL's struggles to recruit a German representative to their new format, they will give Schalke a place. Schalke, yeah.
18:05 - Tuchel discusses Super League
'I honestly do not know enough to judge European Super League' - Tuchel
17:50 - Mourinho being doorstepped
In this country you get doorstepped for espousing socialist beliefs or by being a sacked and/or disgraced football manager.
17:45 - Mourinho leaves Spurs
Sacked Mourinho leaves Spurs training ground for last time
17:30 - Champions League ban could kick in this season
Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea will likely be banned from this season’s Champions League semi-finals, UEFA executive committee member Jesper Moller told broadcaster DR on Monday.
“The clubs must go, and I expect that to happen on Friday. Then we have to find out how to finish (this season’s) Champions League tournament,” said Moller, who is the head of the Danish FA. “There is an extraordinary executive committee meeting on Friday.”
17:15 - Who will replace Mourinho?
With Ryan Mason and Chris Powell in temporary charge until the end of the season, we explore who could be under consideration to take over this summer - featuring Julian Nagelsmann, Max Allegri and Ledley King.
16:25 - Wenger calls for football to 'unite' against Super League
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the proposed Super League is a 'bad idea' and that the history of European football needs be respected.
Wenger, who is currently working as FIFA's global head of development, believes if football comes together in opposition to the new competition then it can be stopped in its tracks.
“I would say that’s a bad idea. Football has to stay united, it’s the most important thing,” Wenger told talkSPORT.
“It’s based on sporting merit and overall to respect the history that has been built from European football.
“I believe, personally, that this idea will not go far."
16:10 - Liverpool fans protest outside Anfield
Liverpool fans have put up banners outside the club's home ground to express their dismay at the Super League proposals.
Liverpool fans have made themselves heard outside Anfield
Image credit: Getty Images
15:45 - UEFA confirm expanded Champions League
UEFA has announced its new format for European competitions.
The Champions League will see an increase from 32 to 36 teams with the group stage completely revamped and each participating club guaranteed 10 games at this stage against different opponents.
Similar format changes will also be applied to the Europa League and the brand new Europa Conference League competition with the first of these new-style tournaments taking place from 2024.
"This new format supports the status and future of the domestic game throughout Europe as well," said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin. "It retains the principle that domestic performance should be the key to qualification and reconfirms the principles of solidarity right through the game and of open competition.
"This evolved format will still keep alive the dream of any team in Europe to participate in the UEFA Champions League thanks to results obtained on the pitch and it will enable long-term viability, prosperity, and growth for everyone in European football, not just a tiny, self-selected cartel."
15:30 - Harry Kane reacts to Mourinho sacking
Tottenham's Harry Kane has sent a classy message to Jose Mourinho following the manager's shock sacking earlier today.
The free-scoring centre forward described working with Mourinho as a 'pleasure' and wished him well after the club decided to part was with the Portuguese boss.
15:15 - Man Utd's Bruno Fernandes breaks silence on Super League
This feels like it's going to get very messy.
Despite Manchester United being one of the driving forces behind the new plans, playmaker Bruno Fernandes doesn't appear to be on board after sharing a post extolling the virtues of the Champions League.
With UEFA's flagship product coming under serious threat from the rival competition, the United star's Portuguese team-mate Daniel Podence shared a post on Instagram, writing: "The ball. The song. The dream. The Zidane's volley... Kaka's solo... Liverpool in Athens... Ole in Barcelona... Cris and Seedorf... There some (sic) things we just can't really pay for."
To which Fernandes re-shared to his stories in agreement, writing: "Dreams cannot be buy (sic)"
Bruno Fernandes appears to be against the Super League idea
Image credit: Eurosport
14:40 - Ceferin: Super League players face international ban
More from the UEFA top dog.
Ceferin has now confirmed that players taking part in the new competition will be banned from playing for their countries at international tournaments.
"Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros," ha said emphatically. "We urge everyone to stand tall with us as we do everything in our power to ensure this never ends up in fruition."
14:30 - UEFA president calls United and Juve bosses 'snakes'
Whoa! Absolutely no punches being pulled by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.
“If I start with [Manchester United vice executive chairman] Ed Woodward," fumed the UEFA boss. "He called me last Thursday evening saying he’s very satisfied with and fully supports the [Champions League] reforms and the only thing he wanted to talk about was FFP, when obviously he had already signed something else.
“Andrea Agnelli [Juventus chairman] is the biggest disappointment of all, I’ve never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently as he did. It’s unbelievable.
“We didn’t know we had snakes so close to us. Now we know.”
13:50 - Tuchel: 'I trust the club to make the right decisions'
Thomas Tuchel is the first of the 'big six' managers to be quizzed about the Super League.
Chelsea are controversially one of the so-called 'founding members' of the new competition along with 11 other clubs, including five other Premier League sides.
"I am part of this club and I trust this club to make the right decisions," he told reporters in his pre-Brighton presser. "I think it's too early to judge everything and it's not my part. On my badge it says that everyone has to play their role. My role is to coach, be focused, and we've another game tomorrow.
He added: "There are a lot of comments, arguments and opinions out there and I don't want to get involved in it because I don't know the details. I've known the general details since yesterday. I trust my role."
13:30 - Rooney cautious about Super League reaction
Amid all the strong feelings and emotions running high over the news, Wayne Rooney has a slightly different take.
Stopping short of condemning the plans outright, the former Manchester United and England striker says he is prepared to 'wait and see' what the plans are first.
The Derby County manager told reporters more information is needed before people rush to judge.
"It is strange timing but I am sure there are reasons for that," he said. "The people in charge of these clubs are not stupid. Wait to see what the plans are. I want the English pyramid to be protected and rewarded.
"I am curious about the information rather than jumping the gun. The Premier League will always be a priority. Only when the information comes out will I give my true feelings on it."
13:15 - Figo: 'Callous' Super League a disaster for grassroots, women's football
Luis Figo is the latest to speak out over the proposed new competition, saying it would be a 'disaster' for those lower down the football pyramid.
The former Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter star accused the owners at his former clubs of greed and self-interest who have 'complete disregard for sporting merit'.
He wrote: "This so called 'Superleague' is anything but 'Super'. This greedy and callous move would spell disaster for our grassroots, for women’s football, and the wider football communityonly to serve self-interested owners, who stopped caring about their fans long ago, and complete disregard for sporting merit. Tragic."
12:40 - English Football Supporters' Association 'totally opposed' to Super League
The chairman of the Football Supporters' Association in England has said that the proposed European Super League is about 'pure greed and money' and the organisation is 'totally opposed' to the plans.
"It totally flies in the face of the tradition of English football," said Malcolm Clarke. "which is that you achieve success on the field, not financial success."
English Football Supporters' Association 'totally opposed' to Super League
12:25 - Jose Mourinho: the best bits
Of course, the other major news today is the departure of Jose Mourinho from Tottenham.
The Portuguese boss and three-time former Premier League winner has been 'relieved of his duties' according to the club after just 17 months in the hotseat.
After so much early season promise, Spurs are languishing down in seventh place in the table and despite a Carabao Cup final to come this weekend, it's ultimately been a poor campaign on the white side of north London.
But leaving aside his on-pitch troubles, Mourinho, as always, has been great value in his interactions with the media and for that reason alone, he will be missed.
'We are not a horse' - Mourinho press conference highlights at Spurs
12:10 - 'Kids don't grow up dreaming of the Super League' - Ozil
Another one! Former Arsenal star and German World Cup winner Mesut Ozil has also had his say.
The Fenerbahce playmaker wants the sanctity of the existing competitions preserved and has warned of saturation if 'big games' are taking place far too frequently.
He tweeted: "Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League - not any Super League. The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week."
12:00 - Former Man Utd star hits out at Super League plans
Here we go! Paris Saint Germain midfielder Ander Herrera appears to be one of the first active players to publicly speak out against the proposed Super League plans.
The ex-Manchester United man has taken to Twitter to furiously accuse the clubs involved of 'stealing' the game from the fans.
PSG are one of the few top clubs who are refusing to back plans for the new competition.
11:50 - Real Betis 'fix' La Liga table without Super League clubs
In an attempt to inject some humour into the situation, Spanish club Real Betis have published the current La Liga table on their site and excluded Real Madrid, Bracelona and Atletico Madrid.
The Andalusian club are performing exceptionally well this season under former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini and currently find themselves in sixth place and on course for Europa League qualification next season.
However, after cheekily leaving out those teams set to join the controversial breakaway league, Betis potentially find themselves even further up the table...
The 'adjusted' La Liga table
Image credit: Eurosport
11:30 - Super League clubs write to FIFA and UEFA
According to Reuters, the "European Super League Company S.L." have written a letter to FIFA and UEFA informing the two organisations that they are taking legal steps to protect their new competition but also call for talks.
"We invite you to attend on an urgent basis discussion with us regarding the details of the competition and how it can best be accommodated within the football ecosystem," the letter concludes.
Both UEFA and FIFA have opposed the potential rival to the Champions League and threatened to sanction those who take part.
11:20 - Borussia Dortmund reject Super League plans
Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund have come out against the idea of a breakaway league with CEO Hans Joachim Watzke making an official statement on Monday.
''The board members of the European Club Association (ECA) came together for a virtual meeting on Sunday evening, where it was agreed that the board's decision from last Friday still stands,'' said Watzke. ''This decision dictates that all clubs wish to implement the proposed reforms to the UEFA Champions League.
"The ECA board members took a clear stance in rejecting plans for the establishment of a Super League.''
11:00 - Spurs and Levy confirm Mourinho sacking
Tottenham have released an official statement on their website confirming the departure of Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff from the club this morning.
Chairman Daniel Levy said of the outgoing boss: "Jose and his coaching staff have been with us through some of our most challenging times as a Club. Jose is a true professional who showed enormous resilience during the pandemic.
"On a personal level I have enjoyed working with him and regret that things have not worked out as we both had envisaged. He will always be welcome here and we should like to thank him and his coaching staff for their contribution."
10:45 - UEFA vote through new 36-team Champions League
More breaking news with reports that UEFA's executive committee has unanimously voted through the new 36 team Champions League to start in 2024.
10:30 - BREAKING: Jose Mourinho sacked by Tottenham
Wow! What a day! Whether this has anything to do with the Super League is unclear but it seems like Spurs will be going into it without Jose Mourinho.
10:15 - Ferguson: Super League would take away 'special' European nights
Sir Alex Ferguson twice won the Champions League as Manchester United boss
Image credit: Getty Images
Sir Alex Ferguson has raised his own doubts about the prospect of a European Super League by claiming it would be departure from the much-loved history of the game.
The legendary Manchester United manager pointed out that the current format of European club football has always allowed smaller clubs to dream of glory, something that will be taken away with the new proposals.
Ferguson twice lifted the Champions League with United but also won the now defunct Cup Winners’ Cup with Aberdeen in 1983 and played for Dunfermline in the old Inter City Fairs Cup in the 1960s.
“Talk of a Super League is a move away from 70 years of European club football," he told Reuters before confirmation of the plans late on Sunday night. "Both as a player for a provincial team Dunfermline in the 60s and as a manager at Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup, for a small provincial club in Scotland it was like climbing Mount Everest.”
“Everton are spending £500 million to build a new stadium with the ambition to play in Champions League. Fans all over love the competition as it is,” he said.
“In my time at United, we played in four Champions League finals and they were always the most special of nights."
Writing in his column for the Telegraph, the ex-Reds defender says the league goes against everything that makes football great and accused the club's owners FSG of betraying Liverpool's heritage.
"As a former Liverpool player, it sickens me that my club’s reputation is being damaged by the arrogance of an ownership group that wants to remove such peril, creating a culture where we no longer need to fight to earn our success.
"That is the antithesis of everything I understand football – especially in my city – to stand for.
"To be tainted by association with the European Super League is bad enough, but Liverpool's apparent leading role in threatening football's competitive ideals - the very ideals which allowed the club to emerge from England's second division to become six-time European champions - is a betrayal of a heritage they are seeking to cash in on."
09:00 - JP Morgan to finance breakaway Super League
JP Morgan on Monday said that it was financing the new breakaway Super League, announced by 12 of Europe's biggest football clubs on Sunday.
A spokesman for JP Morgan said in an email that its involvement with the new league which has been set up as a rival to UEFA's Champions League and includes clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United.
08:55 - Neville: Relegate Man Utd, Liverpool, Arsenal
Speaking on Sky Sports after watching his former side retain second place in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Burnley, the Salford City co-owner launched a diatribe against the apparent greed at play.
"I’m a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years of my life but I’m disgusted, absolutely disgusted," said Neville.
"I'm disgusted with Manchester United and Liverpool the most. Liverpool say they're the people's club, 'you'll never walk alone', the fan's club."
"Manchester United, 100 years, born from workers around here, and they're breaking into a league without competition, that they can't be relegated from?"
08:45 - Dismay as European Super League confirmed
In what is undoubtedly a dark day for football, the European Super League is set to hit the calendars soon. It had initially appeared as though the clubs involved were set to climb down on the proposals after missing a 21:30 announcement window, but two hours later the news many were dreading was finally confirmed.
The heavily-criticised European Super League (ESL) will begin "as soon as practicable" after it was backed by 12 founding clubs.
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham have all put their names to the plans that threaten to rip apart football as we know it.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will be the first chairman of the league, supported by two vice-chairmen: Andrea Agnelli (Juventus) and Joel Glazer (Manchester United).