The idea of a European Super League has been rumored for years. But on Sunday those rumors became reality when twelve of Europe’s top clubs announced they were launching a breakaway Super League.
AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said:
“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.”
As part of the move, the clubs included would withdraw from the European Club Association and it’s Champions League competition. Super League games would be played in the middle of the week, with the European Super League governed by the founding clubs, the club statements indicated.
The agreement provides that the founding clubs will receive an upfront net grant of approximately €3.5 billion in aggregate with the competition planned to start in time for the 2023-24 season.
“By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid,” said Joel Glazer, co-owner of Manchester United and vice chairman of the Super League.
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, with the teams in fourth and fifth playing a two-legged play-off for the two remaining spots.
From then, on it will have the same two-leg knockout format used in the Champions League before a single-leg final in May at neutral venue.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, also a 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. 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.”
Federations Criticize European Super League
FIFA said on Sunday it disapproved of the breakaway competition called the European Super League as it was outside of international football structures.
“Against this background, FIFA can only express its disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures,” a statement from football’s world governing body read.
UEFA also criticized the plans for the European Super League in a statement and said: ”
UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”