UEFA’s Champions League draw scandal on Monday is likely to further entrench the position of the three clubs still pushing for the European Super League – Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona.
A “technical problem” occurred during the Champions League Round of 16 draw on Monday, with Manchester United being erroneously drawn against Villarreal, something that should have been impossible considering both teams progressed from the same group.
The errors continued into the next draw, when Manchester United were not included in the pool of teams that Atletico Madrid could have faced. UEFA decided to completely re-do the draw hours later, including the first drawn match of Real Madrid vs Benfica.
The new draw saw Real Madrid pitted up against Paris Saint-Germain, a significantly tougher opponent for a Round of 16 clash. Los Blancos were enraged by this and president Florentino Perez made it clear that he was opposed to the re-draw as soon as the idea was proposed.
Real Madrid have named the re-draw a ‘scandal’ and their position on the Super League is now even further entrenched, feeling completely ill-treated by UEFA’s conduct.
Juventus, who are also still involved in the Super League project, were less public with their feelings, instead simply posting a surprised emoji on their social media. The Bianconeri’s initial draw was Sporting and the re-draw saw them be pitted up against Villarreal instead, two opponents of a similar strength level.
Barcelona, who will face Napoli in the Europa League Round of 16 playoffs in February, have not yet publicly commented, but it’s likely that they share a similar position to Real Madrid.
The three clubs are still committed to the controversial Super League project and with the EU’s decision to put a stop to the proposal, the matter will now be fought in the European Court of Justice. UEFA’s drawing error will have only exacerbated the situation and further convinced the three clubs that their project is the correct one to pursue, despite negative fan reactions, especially in the UK.
It’s possible that the Super League’s case in the European Court of Justice could be stronger now – a key element of their proposal is unhappiness at UEFA’s monopoly over European club competition, and so the Champions League draw scandal could be used as ammunition to backup their case for a separate competition.
UEFA’s position was already a little weakened in October following the calls from Fifpro, the international players’ union, and European Leagues, who represent domestic leagues across Europe, who asked UEFA to completely reform their governance in order to curb the threat of a European Super League.