Founding Clubs Unveil Plans For European Super League

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Twelve of Europe’s top football clubs unveiled plans for a breakaway Super League on Sunday, which was launched to rival UEFA’s established Champions League competition which currently dominates European football.

The move has been heavily criticised by soccer authorities worldwide and UK prime minister Boris Johnson, as well as French president Emmanuel Macron.

Six clubs from England’s Premier League – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur feature among the founding members, along with Spain’s Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italy’s Inter Milan, Juventus and AC Milan, the organisation, called Super League, said in a statement.

The league plans to launch “as soon as practicable” and the founding clubs will be given €3.5 billion “to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the Covid pandemic”, the statement said.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the new founding chairman of the Super League also came out in support of the European Super League.

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires,” Perez said.

The league plans to add three more teams as founder members and then run a 20-team midweek league with five teams qualifying annually “based on their achievements in the prior seasons”.

A women’s Super League competition is also planned to be launched after the men’s league is up and running, the statement said. The format of the competition would be two groups of 10 playing home and away fixtures with the top three in each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.

A play-off involving fourth and fifth placed teams will complete the final eight. Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, vice-chairman of the new league, said the move would secure the long-term future of the game.

Our 12 founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies,” Agnelli said. “We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future.”

“Substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”

A statement from the European Club Association (ECA), released on Sunday evening said it “strongly” opposes the idea of a “closed Super League model” which has been reported on.

The ECA has expressed a desire to work with UEFA on amending the structure of European club football from 2024 onwards.

The statement read: “In light of today’s reports on the subject of a so-called breakaway league, the ECA as the body representing 246 leading clubs across Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to working on developing the UEFA Club Competitions model with UEFA for the cycle beginning 2024 and that ‘closed super league model’ to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by the ECA.

 

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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