The European Super League plans have been formally revealed by twelve of the world’s largest football clubs.
Since preparations for a breakaway cult were leaked by the media on Sunday afternoon, football has devolved into an all-out civil war.
Six Premier League clubs are among those participating in the joint statement, which was issued in the wake of international outrage.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus have joined the six clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur. In the coming weeks, three more founding members are expected to be announced.
The proposals, however, have been met with vehement opposition, with even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson openly opposing them.
There have also been other public displays of disapproval from notable figures, including Gary Neville’s passionate and emotional appeal during Sky Sports’ coverage of Manchester United’s victory over Burnley.
The European Super League clubs have issued a statement despite the backlash.
“Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today announced their agreement to create a new mid-week competition, the Super League, controlled by its Founding Clubs,” the statement reads.
“AC Milan, Atletico de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF, and Tottenham Hotspur are all Founding Clubs.”
“Another three clubs are expected to enter ahead of the inaugural season, which is expected to begin as soon as possible.”
“In the future, the Founding Clubs look forward to meeting with UEFA and FIFA to discuss how they can work together to achieve the best results for the new League and for football as a whole.”
“The Super League’s establishment comes at a time when the global pandemic has heightened the uncertainty of the current European football economic paradigm.
“Further, the Founding Clubs have had the aim of enhancing the standard and intensity of established European competitions in each season, as well as providing a format for top clubs and players to participate on a regular basis, for a number of years.”
“The pandemic has shown that enhancing value and funding for the entire European football pyramid needs a strategic vision and a long-term commercial strategy.”
“In recent months, there has been considerable discussion among football stakeholders about the future format of European competitions.
“The Founding Clubs agree that the proposals suggested as a result of these discussions do not address fundamental problems, such as the need for higher-quality matches and more financial support for the overall football pyramid.”
The announcement comes less than 24 hours before UEFA was set to reveal their plans for a reformed Champions League, which will feature ten group games and 36 teams.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez will lead the new league, which will also include United co-owner Joel Glazer and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli.
UEFA, the governing body of European football, believed they had defeated the threat of a Super League, but now fear they are fighting a losing war.
While UEFA had gained the support of the European Club Association, Agnelli has resurrected the Super League project.
In January, it was revealed that the founding members of a proposed European Super League would be paid up to £310 million each if the competition was approved.
15 clubs will be founding members, with the remaining five teams qualifying season by season.
“We will support football at any level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” said Real Madrid President Perez, who is also the first Chairman of the Super League.
“Football is the world’s most global sport, with over four billion followers, and it is our duty as major clubs to cater to their needs.”
“Our 12 Founder clubs serve billions of fans around the world and 99 European trophies,” said Juventus Chairman Agnelli, who is now Vice-Chairman of the Super League.
“We have come together at this crucial juncture to transform European sport, putting the game we love on a long-term footing, significantly increasing unity, and providing fans and amateur players with a daily flow of marquee fixtures that will feed their enthusiasm for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”
“By putting together the world’s greatest clubs and players to face each other during the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, providing world-class competition and facilities, as well as improved financial support for the broader football pyramid,” said Glazer, Co-Chairman of Manchester United and Vice-Chairman of the Super League.
Confirmed competition format
- 20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
- Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.
- An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals.
- Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions.
- A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
Proposals for European Super League:
- Two groups of 10 clubs play home and away, with the top four from each group going through to two-legged quarter-finals, semi-finals, and a one-legged final.
- Matches would be midweek
- Clubs would have rights to show four matches a season on their own the digital platforms
- 20 percent of the pot would be merit money “distributed in the same manner as the current English Premier
- League merit-based system” according to where clubs finish in the competition
- The remaining 15 percent would a “commercial share based on club awareness”
- A cap of 55 percent of revenues permitted to be spent on salaries and transfers
- A ‘Financial Sustainability Group’ would monitor clubs’ spending