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Champions League teams could be kicked out of semifinals as Super League punishment

Henry Bushnell
·2 min read
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UEFA, the European soccer governing body that controls the Champions League, is reportedly considering whether to kick out three of this year's semifinalists as punishment for their involvement in the recently announced Super League.

Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea are three of 12 clubs who have agreed to break away from the Champions League in future seasons. Their new competition would usurp it as Europe's preeminent tournament.

They also, inconveniently, are three of the four teams who won 2020-21 Champions League quarterfinals last week. Real Madrid is set to meet Chelsea in one semifinal next week. In the other, Man City plays PSG, which has thus far rebuffed the Super League.

At a scathing news conference Monday, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said that "as soon as possible, [the clubs] have to be banned from all our competitions." Fabrizio Romano reported hours later that a decision on whether to enact that ban immediately would be made later this week. Ceferin had said that he'd have to consult lawyers.

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The decision would also affect Manchester United and Arsenal, who are part of the breakaway Super League, and who are semifinalists in this year's Europa League, the second-tier continental competition.

A member of UEFA's executive committee, Jesper Moller, said Monday that he expects the three Champions League clubs to be banished from the semis.

"The clubs must go, and I expect that to happen on Friday," Moller said. "Then we have to find out how to finish [this season's] Champions League tournament."

The bans would leave PSG as the only team remaining. UEFA could, presumably, retroactively award quarterfinal forfeits, and bring in the teams defeated by City, Chelsea and Madrid as semifinal replacements.

There's one problem with that plan, though: Madrid beat Liverpool, another Super League founder.

Another option could be to pit the other quarterfinalists, Borussia Dortmund and Porto, against each other in a makeshift semifinal, then pit the winner of that game against PSG in the final.

In the Europa League, the other two semifinalists are Roma and Villarreal.

UEFA's threat is one of many it has levied in the aftermath of Sunday's Super League announcement. It's unclear how serious the governing body is about following through. Banning City, Chelsea and Madrid would likely bring soccer's Super League war to a point of no return, and losing all 12 Super League clubs would harm UEFA long-term.

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