Guardiola attacks Super League as threat to values of sport

·3 min read

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola attacked the proposal of a breakaway Super League as a threat to the integrity and values of sport, hours before the club opted Tuesday to abandon its plans to join the controversial competition.

City was one of six English teams involved in the proposed Super League, along with three from Italy and three from Spain. Aside from those 12 “founding clubs,” three more were going to be invited to join the league as permanent members while five slots were to be left open, to be determined each year.

The league appeared to be imploding late Tuesday, with City going public with its decision to leave the 12-team competition — that Guardiola believed was flawed to start with. The other five Premier League teams also signalled their departures from the project.

“Sport’s not a sport when the relationship between the effort and the success, the effort and reward, doesn’t exist,” Guardiola said. “It’s not a sport. It’s not a sport when success is already guaranteed. It’s not a sport when it doesn’t matter when you lose.

“That’s why I’ve said many times, I want the best competitions as strong as possible, especially the Premier League, and that it’s not fair when one team fights, fights, fights and arrives at the top and after cannot be qualified because the success is already guaranteed for just a few clubs.”

Guardiola also had spoken out against City's Abu Dhabi ownership, saying he was still waiting for more information about the proposals 36 hours after they were first announced in a press release that revealed only a few details about the competition.

“The right people have to clarify -- they have the obligation, the duty, as soon as possible, today better than tomorrow, tomorrow better than the day after tomorrow, to come out all around the world," Guardiola said. “Because it is a worldwide issue. Clarify what is the situation that is going to come, and the benefits, and why they took the decision these teams are going to play and the other ones not.”

Guardiola spoke out a day after Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp voiced his concerns about the lack of competition in a closed-off Super League.

Guardiola said he felt “uncomfortable” that managers such as him and Klopp were being asked to answer for their owners.

“Honestly, we are not the right people to answer this question because there are presidents who can talk more clearly about what is the idea for the future where football wants to go,” he said.

“I would love,” Guardiola added, “the president of this committee to go out all around the world and say what is the reason why we took that decision. I support my club. I know the people and I am part of this club. But I also have my own opinion, and my opinion I would love to have when I have all the information.”

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Steve Douglas, The Associated Press