It will be remembered as a flash in the pan, but the recently proposed European Super League rocked soccer and, indeed, world sports to its foundations. It was an attempted power grab by the money men involved in the once beautiful game but one that was crushed by fans across the world.
With the teams confirmed, announcing their plans to break away and create a European Super League it looked like a done deal. It seemed so certain experts working on sports betting in Las Vegas were even making moves to accept bets on the competition’s first winners.
Cue a vicious backlash from supporters who said it went against everything the sport stood for. They rolled up their sleeves and, strengthened by the teams not invited to join the ESL; football supporters made their feelings clear. The competition wasn’t wanted, they would never support it, and it was a non-starter.
European Super League explained
What exactly is all the fuss about, and what is the European Super League? It was a football competition proposed to replace the UEFA Champions League. It was to consist of two leagues of teams with a round-robin format. The three highest finishing sides would progress to the knockout stages with a selection of others involved in a playoff to join them. The play would then start to whittle down the teams until left with two who met in the final.
Sounds exciting. What was the problem? The main problem for most football fans was the Super League was a closed shop, reserved for the wealthiest sides to get even richer. The 18 to 20 teams would rake in a massive income for their involvement, leaving everyone else on the outside looking in. No relegation sits well with the business heads behind the idea, but it wasn’t something that appealed to the average fan who viewed it as a robbery of all they held dear in sport.
Protests in England made government act
Six English Premier League clubs – Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Man City – were involved in the ESL, making the shock announcement last week. It was a plan that must’ve been going on behind the scenes for quite some time, but the news seemed to catch most sports lovers off-guard. Added to the heightened tensions of the coronavirus lockdown that has seen supporters locked out of stadiums for more than a year in some parts of Europe, it was a recipe for disaster. This became obvious very quickly.
Hundreds of English football followers broke covid laws to gather in protest. They took their opposition to the streets, their team’s home arena, and even the training field. They acted swiftly, making worldwide news and causing panic. Police and club security were drafted in to help control the protests, which caught the eye of the UK government in London. British prime minister Boris Johnson became one of the most high profile names to break cover and condemn the English sides for their involvement in the Super League.
Clubs back down with some even apologising
Manchester City was the first club to announce their withdrawal, quickly followed by fellow English team Chelsea who informed the media of their sudden change of heart. Later that evening, the remaining Premier League teams pulled out.
The co-owner of Manchester United, Joel Glazer, penned an open letter to fans of the Red Devils in which he apologized for the club’s involvement in the European Super League and said they aimed to rebuild trust with fans. Across the city and Manchester City’s CEO, Ferran Soriano, wrote to fans and apologized for the mistake made and for the anguish it has caused during the fallout.
Liverpool John Henry was forced into a climb-down after he withdrew the Reds from the competition just 48 hours after signing up for it. An embarrassing episode for all concerned but not one a simple apology will fix. Fans and pundits are out for blood, and we could see heads roll. In the coming weeks, it’s possible those involved in the process of signing clubs up to the ESL scheme could lose their job or be shamed into selling up and moving on. The Super League is dead in the water, but we’ve not heard the last of this.
A London police official has announced that firearms officers are to wear video cameras in an attempt to be “more open” following the death of Mark Duggan in 2011.
Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted the force must “do more to build trust” after an inquest jury found Mark Duggan, 29, was lawfully killed.
Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in August 2011 in Tottenham, north London.
Bernard Hogan- Howe will meet community leaders in Haringey to discuss how “confidence” in the Met can be improved.
The family of Mark Duggan reacted with anger after the jury concluded by a majority of 8 to 2 that he was lawfully killed by officers.
Mark Duggan, whose death sparked protests that descended into rioting and looting across London and spread to other parts of England, was shot when police stopped a taxi he was travelling in.
Following the conclusion of the four-month inquest at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday, his aunt Carole Duggan said he had been “executed”.
Bernard Hogan-Howe said: “I want to express my sympathy to Mark Duggan’s family. They’ve lost a son and brother and their friends have lost a friend.
“That’s a terrible event for everybody and they’ve had to wait a long time for this verdict.
Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in August 2011 in Tottenham
“I hope that everybody’s able to accept the verdict of the jury. It’s a jury of ordinary Londoners who have come to a verdict which we all have to accept.
“I do acknowledge that we need to do more to build trust with the people of London and there are things that we need to learn from this event.
“First of all, I want our officers to be able to be more open when it comes to the investigations that follow these events.
“In pursuance of that we’re going to ask them to wear video cameras, so that we can record this type of incident, and I’m going to meet many people from across London, leaders from the Haringey community, to see what we need to do to work together to improve the confidence in the Met for those members of society who may feel that this has damaged their confidence in any way.”
The jury of seven women and three men was asked to answer five questions over Mark Duggan’s death.
The panel concluded Mark Duggan did not have a gun when he was shot by officers who surrounded a minicab he was travelling in.
But the jury said it was more likely than not that Mark Duggan had thrown a gun from the vehicle just before he was killed. The weapon was found about 20ft away from the scene.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is currently conducting an investigation into Mark Duggan’s death.
Deborah Coles, from the charity Inquest, said Mark Duggan’s family were considering whether to apply for the decision to be judicially reviewed.
[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]London riots spread last nights, with looting and violence escalating across Hackney, Ealing, Croydon, Clapham and Notting Hill and erupting in cities outside London, such as Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, Nottingham.
The London riots began in Tottenham on Saturday night following the deadly shooting by police of Mark Duggan, 29. Sunday night street violence spread to Brixton and to the following areas:
England riots mapping.
Hackney, East London
Rioting reigned for more than 3 hours on the Pembury Estate in Hackney as 300 masked people burned cars, looted shops and threw petrol bombs at riot police.
Burning debris – including motorbikes, bins and sticks – was piled around the estate.
On Mare Street, shops were looted.[googlead tip=”vertical_mic”]
A police officer in a solitary parked car was attacked shortly before 9 p.m., local time. His car windscreen was smashed with bricks and the car was pelted with sticks and bottles as a man shouted: “kill the police”.
Today a clean-up is being arranged in the borough.
England riots map.
[googlead tip=”lista_mica” aliniat=”stanga”]Croydon, South London
Residents were forced to jump from burning buildings as masked gangs set fire to shops, businesses, cars and homes. Plumes of smoke could be seen for miles.
Woman jumping from a burning building in Surrey Street
Family business Reeves, a furniture shop that has stood in the area for more than 100 years, was burned down.
Store’s owner, Trevor Reeves said:
“It’s just completely destroyed. Words fail me. It’s just gone, it’s five generations. My father is distraught. It’s just mindless thuggery.”
A woman was filmed jumping from a burning building which had been set on fire by rioters.
A 26-year-old man was injured in a non-fatal shooting.
Clapham, south London
A groups of 1,000 rioters – many of them wearing masks – raided a Debenhams store and a number shops in Lavender Hill. A jewellery shop was also looted.
Clapham police officers cluster near a burned out shop
Residents were told to stay indoors and the youths ran riot.
“We don’t want people getting hurt by their bombs and missiles,” an officer said.
Peckham, South-East London
500 rioters vandalized shops, lit fires and attacked police on Peckham High Street. A fire was started in a Greggs’ bakery.
Looters jump out from smashed up store in Peckham
A nearby bus was also set on fire and bins and an abandoned vehicle were set ablaze in Lewisham.
Ealing, West London
Gangs of rioters gathered opposite Ealing Broadway Tube, throwing bricks at local shops, starting fires in the street and setting cars ablaze.
Car fire extingushed on a street in Ealing
Bethnal Green, East London
A Tesco’s garage was looted and 2 officers were injured.
A shop on Roman Road was also broken into and robbed. Police said there had also been looting in Newham.
Fulham, West London
Rioters looted electrical store Curry’s.
Hammersmith, West London
Stores looted. Shopkeepers in Shepherd’s Bush barricaded their businesses to try to keep out troublemakers.
Woolwich, South London
PC World was looted and rioters made off with large flat screen TVs and other electronic goods.
Firefighters extinguishing the flames of a torched store in Woolwich
Camden and Chalk Farm, North London
Gangs of youths roamed, buildings were vandalized.
Enfield, North London
40 firefighters were called to fight a huge blaze at a Sony warehouse in Solar Way.
Two police cars and a double decker bus were torched and several local stores were looted by violent rioters yesterday night in northern London, Tottenham.
According to the eyewitnesses it was a chaos which rages for hours and fires blazed throughout the night while police tried to get the scene under control. People estimated there were 400-500 demonstrators in the streets.
Northern London riots, August 7, 2011
Maria Robinson, Tottenham resident, described the scene in an interview with the BBC.
“The police are hiding. I actually saw a group of police officers run through an alley away from a group of people that are running towards them,” Robinson said.
“The police seem very frightened of the situation at the moment.”
As a result of last Saturday night riots, 26 police officers and 3 others were injured and 42 people have been arrested.
London Metropolitan Police admitted they “had not anticipated” the violence, which came in response to the death of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, shot by police officers on Thursday.
What began as a peaceful march for Mark Duggan exploded into violent street riots when the event was “hijacked by mindless thugs,” police told the Guardian.
Mark Duggan, a black father of four, was killed by police after he was pulled over in a minicab and officers attempted to arrest him. Details on the circumstances of his death remain unclear as police have not released information about why Mark Duggan was pulled over or who shot him.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) release statement concerning Mark Duggan:
“I understand the distress that the shooting of Mark Duggan has caused to his family and in the community and that people need answers about what happened to him,” an IPCC spokesman said.
“This case (Mark Duggan) was referred to the IPCC immediately and we declared it an independent investigation and sent our investigators straight to the scene in Tottenham, where they took control and remained until late Friday night, supervising the forensic examinations. An independent investigation means that all aspects are carried out by IPCC investigators.
“We are in close contact with Mark Duggan’s family and supported 14 family members and friends in viewing and formally identifying Mr Duggan’s body. We have been in telephone contact with close family tonight and have further meetings with them tomorrow.
“I have tonight spoken to community representatives and hope to meet with them and others as early as possible. I remain in frequent contact with David Lammy, the local MP.
“We are still gathering evidence and will release further details about our progress with the investigation as soon as we can.”
David Lammy , member of Parliament for Tottenham , decried the violence, telling reporters that many of the violent protesters “were not from Tottenham” but had traveled to join in the looting.
“A community that was already hurting has had its heart ripped out,” David Lammy said.
The incident seemed to be very similar to Tottenham’s 1985 Broadwater Farm riot, an outbreak of violence sparked by the death of Cynthia Jarrett, a woman who died while police officers were searching her home in connection with her son’s arrest. Cynthia Jarrett’s death was followed by rioting which turned violent, ending in the death of police officer Keith Blakelock.
Tottenham residents said tensions have eased in recent years between the community and the police, but Mark Duggan’s death seems to have ignited the old hostilities.
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