Ljubljana – Slovenia’s Aleksander Čeferin, the president of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), said in an interview with commercial broadcaster POP TV last night that the Super League no longer existed, while the relations in European football had definitely changed.
“I think the Super League has never existed in the first place. There was an attempt at founding a kind of phantom league of the wealthy, which would be bound by no system, and would ignore the pyramid system of football in Europe, the tradition, culture and history,” he said.
Čeferin stressed he had known the project would be short-lived and this was confirmed on Tuesday evening when clubs started quitting the project.
“I believed in the power of football. In the five years since I’ve been here I got to know this enormous energy. Football can start or stop wars. Football can trigger extraordinary social shifts and I was convinced that especially in England fans will not cave in.
“The reactions from Boris Johnson, Emmanuel Macron and Victor Orban and the European Commission made it clear it will be over soon,” he said, commenting on the developments behind the scenes.
He said he had been constantly in touch with the British prime minister and his cabinet, which came out strong against the Super League. “Their reaction was excellent, I was impressed by their efficiency … The reaction of the English government significantly contributed to the solution.”
But the UEFA head gives the most credit to fans, who stood their ground. “Fans are numerous, they love their club and if fans get mad it’s a kind of a revolution. No country can afford it.”
The billionaires involved in the Super League project underestimated the power of fans, he said.
But he admitted the initiative had taken him by surprise. He said he could not believe that people were making false promises to him, supporting UEFA’s changes to the Champions League while setting up an alternative league behind his back.
He said the support of the German giants Bayern and Borussia, and the French PSG had been very important for UEFA.
As for the head of Real Madrid and the Super League project, Florentino Perez, Čeferin said he had known for a long time Perez “does not want the kind of UEFA head as I am”.
“This is only a greater encouragement for me to stay. He wants a head who would do what he says, listen to him and do exactly how he wants it, while I work for the benefit of the European and global football.”
As for dealing with the clubs who still insist on the failed Super League project, he said a dialogue would be needed.
Čeferin thinks there is relatively little chance that the Champions League matches would not be held next week. “But it will be a bit different at first. It takes greatness to admit you were wrong. UEFA’s doors are open if you accept the consequences of your actions.”