Pep Guardiola has admitted he is “uncomfortable” speaking about the European Super League but took issue with some of the concepts related to it.
The new breakaway competition would rival the Champions League and threaten the domestic calendar. Manchester City are one of six Premier League clubs to have signed up to the tournament. They would be joined by Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham.
However, there has been much backlash towards the announcement of the league. It seems to have more critics than proponents.
Managers of the teams involved are in a difficult situation now. Many are being asked about matters of which they have little knowledge.
Guardiola was the latest to speak up at his pre-match press conference for City‘s league match against Aston Villa on Wednesday. He admitted he is still unaware of the full details.
Asked when he found out about the proposals, he said: “A few hours before the statement was released, I think like my other colleagues. They told me there was going to be a statement released.
“The statement is still there but no one speaks clearly with more details what is going to happen. We are still in this position.”
While he suggested he does not have the full picture yet, Guardiola took it as an honour to speak about the development.
The City head coach thinks there are better people than him to ask about it. Even so, he was happy to speak and said he wanted clarification.
He said: “It is an honour [to speak about it]. I am a good spokesperson! We speak six times a week in a press conference, we can talk about everything.
“We spoke about the virus and the NHS and Covid and furlough – anything. Ask whatever you want, I’m going to say what I really feel but honestly we are not the right people to answer these questions. There is a president that can talk more clearly about exactly what the idea is for the future about where football wants to go.
“It is uncomfortable for us because we don’t have all the information. Once we have all the information I will give my opinion.
“I can give you my opinion on what I know today but I don’t know more, that is the reality. There is just a statement and no more than that.
“I would love the president of this committee to go all round the world and explain the reason why they took the decision. I support my club, I know the people and I am part of this club. But I also have my own opinion.
“I would love to be clear when we have all the information. Right now it is just a statement, no one has appeared and said anything. That’s why for all of us, for Jurgen [Klopp], for Thomas [Tuchel] – all the managers in the six teams – it is uncomfortable because we don’t have all the information.”
Guardiola dislikes concept of no promotion/relegation
In his candid response, Guardiola criticised the principles of there being no promotion or relegation in the league.
He added: “At the same time that I said don’t have all the information I have some information. If you ask me about these teams that have been selected for this hypothetical competition in the future, I don’t know the reason why.
“Sport? It is not sport when the relation between effort and success and reward doesn’t exist. It is not a sport.
“It is not a sport if success is already guaranteed. It is not a sport if it doesn’t matter if you lose. That’s why I said many times that I want the best competitions as strong as possible – especially the Premier League – and it is not fair when one team fights to arrive to the top and after cannot qualify because the success is already guaranteed just for a few clubs. This statement is what I feel.
“I don’t know what is going to change and people say maybe four or five teams can go up and join these teams but what happens if the 14 or 15 don’t have a good season and every time they are there? This is not a sport.”
City boss yet to speak to players
There have been rumours of punishments for clubs and players taking part in the European Super League. However, the players themselves are in a similar position to Guardiola.
He revealed that he has not spoken to his players about the news yet. Instead, he wants them to focus on the competitions they are currently still competing in.
Guardiola continued: “It is an embryo that is not yet breathing. That is the reality.
“We’re going to play the Champions League next week and try to reach the final and next season we’re going to play in European competitions because we deserve it and won it on the pitch. The players have to be focused on Aston Villa.
“Like all the managers said – because I listened to Jurgen and the other managers – we did our job. The right people have to clarify, they have the obligation and duty as soon as possible to come out all around the world and clarify – today better than tomorrow and tomorrow better than the day after tomorrow – what the situation is, the benefits, and why they took their decisions that these teams are going to play and not other ones.
“Ajax Amsterdam have four or five Champions League but will not be there? They have to clarify that for all of us. Saying that, every club defends its position. Everyone makes their own interests.
“When you talk about the Premier League and UEFA, they look after their interests. To arrive at this point, UEFA have also failed. They have to communicate and be in touch before. They have to clarify because I don’t have all the information to give my opinion.
“Why are these ones there and not the other ones? If the other ones could be there, people would be happy.
“When we defined this season as the most difficult season in the world with the Covid pandemic, we fought for five substitutions and every team looked out for themselves, not for the players. Don’t say now this is for the Big Six, it is completely unfair for all the people working in this club in the toughest period in the world, never one person hid.
“Everyone is struggling in this situation and all the clubs are suffering with budgets. But they have to clarify and make a really clear statement about the steps and after people will decide what they have to do. We have to go altogether as much as possible but in the same time everyone looks for themselves.
“UEFA thinks for themselves. I put an example. In the toughest part of the season and the most important, when we played 10 months to win title, Lewandowski was injured on international duty and cannot play in the quarter-final against PSG because he played a game for his national team because UEFA decided to play there. UEFA decided it was business, they weren’t thinking about Bayern Munich and unfortunately Lewy was injured playing for Poland against Andorra and could not play in the quarter-finals when he had been fighting and playing every single day for 10 months.
“Irresponsibility for the Big Six or Bayern Munich? No, it is for UEFA. But when we talk about that, they don’t listen – like the Premier League here. Everyone looks out for themselves – and that is the point.”