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On the other hand, none of his colleagues and co-conspirators said a word: neither to the news media, nor to the fans, nor even to the sponsors of their children. Andrea Agnelli, the president of Juventus, had never before hesitated to give voice to some of his wacky ideas on how to improve football; now that he had chosen one, he didn’t seem quite inclined to defend it.

John Henry, the main owner of Liverpool, has never hidden his belief that football must find ways to cut costs, but this time he refused to make his case publicly, although he did. . to apologise Wednesday morning. Neither the Russian plutocrat, nor the deputy prime minister of a Gulf state, nor the activist investor or the owner of a ranch the size of Los Angeles.

There was no attempt to sell the idea, no attempt to describe the benefits as they saw them. A high-profile PR firm in London had been hired to handle the launch, and yet, as the criticism grew more talkative, sharper and fiercer, there was no no response, no attempt to fashion a more favorable narrative.

For all the work they had done, for all the millions they had spent, for all the legal documents they had filed, none of this project seemed complete. The architects couldn’t even find a way to get every homeowner to produce a statement to be released by their own club explaining why they joined the Separatist League. It was all, in a way, not very serious: there was a tinkered with website, an uninteresting logo and an American banker, but no broadcaster, no suite of sponsors and, ultimately, no commitment to. achieve it.

This is hardly an auspicious trait for custodians of institutions which, although run as businesses and treated as entertainment complexes, are also cultural and social touchstones. If they’re so disloyal to their own cherished ideas, imagine how worrying it would be if they were in charge of things they didn’t care about at all.

And yet there is something deeply encouraging for football in all of this desolate mess. What gave rise, in part, to the inequity that the Super League was meant to address was the need to appease this very group of owners, to meet their ever-growing demands, to give them what they wanted. want.

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