Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

15.47 23 Apr 2021


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While the idea that fan power killed the Super League barely 48-hours after its inception is a nice one, it's reportedly far from the truth. 

Supporters within and without the 12-team rebel alliance celebrated in unity on Tuesday evening, as the exclusive party was blown asunder.

Chelsea and Manchester City were the first to dive for high land, but it seems less down to the protesting masses outside Stamford Bridge and more to do with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung claims Russian president Vladimir Putin used his influence to convince Chelsea to back out.

The paper says Abramovich was informed by Kremlin sources that a break from the Champions League would not be in the interests of Gazprom.

The energy company is one of the Champions League's biggest sponsors, and is owned by the Russian state.

Gazprom is also based in St. Petersburg, which was awarded three Euro 2020 Group E matches after Dublin was unable to fulfil the capacity wishes of UEFA at the Aviva Stadium.

Similarly, Manchester City reportedly got cold feet due to the source of the financing for the Super League.

The Premier League leaders are owned by the UAE-based Abu Dhabi United group who were uncomfortable with money funding the breakaway league coming from Saudi Arabia.

"Abu Dhabi is not exactly hostile to Riyadh's rulers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung report read, "unlike neighbours Qatar, but they appreciate a decidedly liberal and cosmopolitan image and therefore don't want to be caught in the same back room with Saudi Arabia."

That Qatari hostility meant the Qatar Sports Investments-owned Paris Saint-Germain were always likely to have little to do with a Saudi-backed venture.

PSG owner Nasser Al-Khelaifi was this week elected chairman of the European Club Association, and with it a place on the UEFA Executive Committee.

One person with zero qualms about Saudi Arabian money is Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.

He's been involved in the building of new tourist resort centre Qiddiya, with a potential €150million sponsorship deal for Real reported by The Times earlier this year.

JP Morgan distances itself from Super League but does not rule out future deals


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Chelsea European Super League Gazprom JP Morgan Manchester City Qatar Sports Investments Roman Abramovich Russia Saudi Arabia Super League The Super League Vladimir Putin

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