On Sunday night, it was revealed that 12 clubs from across Europe (six in England) had signed up to a newly formed European Super League. The announcement was met with tumultuous uproar across the continent with governing bodies including the FA, UEFA, and the Premier League reacting swiftly in releasing robust statements condemning the plan.
As this is an ever-evolving, updating story, I’ll try to refrain from the finer details of the proposals and focus solely on the implications they may have at Villa Park.
The word around B6
On Monday morning, Christian Purslow was amongst the first senior club members to speak about the proposals.
“The scheme is designed to take away that uncertainty (of relegation) and to give predictability to their businesses so that if they’re badly managed or have a poor year, they’re still in the premier tournament,” said Villa’s Chief Executive.
Despite selling the reigns of Liverpool Football Club in 2010 to their current owners (FSG) – a driving force behind the Superleague – Purslow insists he is vehemently against the idea.
“Does that sound like sport or football to you? To me, it sounds like a grotesque concept.”
With a nod to Villa’s heritage, he expressed the views of most football fans.
“Aston Villa are one-time winners of the pinnacle of European football, the European Cup,”
“English and European football has always been about living the dream. Beating big teams, climbing up the ladder, entering European football is what in sporting terms that dream is all about.”
As far as official club media is concerned, no comments have been made at the time of writing.
Premier League implications?
Across social media today, Premier League tables have been published with the notable absence of the ‘big six’. West Ham United, Leicester City, Leeds United and Aston Villa would occupy current Champions League positions if the ‘big six’ were booted from this year’s league.
The wiping of these clubs comes after a joint statement released on Sunday afternoon by the Premier League and other major leagues in Europe. Banishment was among the threats issued to clubs that signed up to the new format.
‘The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams’.
Whilst there’s no indication the current league season will finish without the ‘big six’, Gary Neville made a request on Sunday television that would alter league standings still.
“The motivation is greed. Deduct them all points tomorrow, put them at the bottom of the league and take the money off them. Seriously, you have got to stamp on this. It is a criminal act against football fans in this country, make no mistake about it. Deduct them points, deduct money and punish them.”
Aston Villa are currently 11th in the Premier League table – behind every one of the English teams to have signed up to the Super League.
If points were deducted from those clubs, Dean Smith’s men would surely rise to an elevated position in the table.
Would that give Villa a route into European competition for next season?
It’s worth mentioning that no concrete retribution has been announced by governing bodies at this stage. The proposals of retaliation against the ‘super league’ clubs are just theories for the time being at least.
Through Purslow’s comments, Aston Villa’s stance on the matter looks clear. Why wouldn’t it be? Villa are among a host of English clubs hunting down the established ‘big six’ in the race for Europe. By entering a closed-door competition, the leading clubs are securing themselves revenues from European competition. This way, they don’t have to compete with the likes of Aston Villa for them in the future.
As long as footballing integrity remains just about intact, Aston Villa smell European blood on the horizon.
The door won’t be closed on a new era at Villa Park.