• April 12, 2024

European Super League: Premier League’s ‘big six’ agree to join new league

Liverpool and Manchester United are the two most successful teams in English football history

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among the twelve clubs that have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL).

In a seismic move for European football, the Premier League clubs will join AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

The ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to create a “new midweek competition” in which teams would continue to “compete against each other in their respective national leagues”.

It is said that the inaugural season “should start as soon as possible” and “expects three more clubs to join the runaway”.

The ESL also plans to start a women’s competition as soon as possible after the men’s tournament has started.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Uefa and the Premier League condemned the move to start a European Super League when the news of it came on Sunday.

The world association Fifa said it before would not recognize such a competition and all players involved could be denied the opportunity to participate in a world championship.

Uefa, Europe’s governing body, repeated this warning on Sunday when it said that the players involved would be banned from all other competitions at national, European or global level and could be prevented from representing their national teams.

After the Super League was announced, Fifa expressed its “rejection” of the proposed competition and called on “all parties involved in heated discussions to have a calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the benefit of the game”.

In a statement, the ESL said: “The founding clubs look forward to holding talks with Uefa and Fifa in the future in order to jointly achieve the best results for the new league and football as a whole.”

Dion Dublin & Danny Murphy discuss plans for a European Super League

Why now?

There were talks with Wall Street Bank JP Morgan in October a new competition worth £ 4.6 billion that would replace the Champions League.

Uefa had hoped for the plans a new Champions League with 36 teams – with reforms to be confirmed on Monday – would drive the formation of a Super League.

However, the 12 teams involved in the Super League don’t believe the reforms will go far enough.

They said the global pandemic had “accelerated the instability of the existing European football economic model”.

“In recent months there has been an extensive dialogue with football players on the future format of European competitions,” they added.

“The founding clubs believe that the solutions proposed following these talks will not solve any fundamental problems, including the need to provide higher quality games and additional financial resources for the entire football pyramid.”

What is the suggested format?

The league will have 20 teams – the 12 founding members, plus the three unnamed clubs they are expected to join soon, and five teams that qualify annually based on their national achievements.

According to the proposals, the ESL campaign would start with midweek games in August each year, and the clubs would be split into two groups of ten to play against each other at home and away.

The top three in each group would qualify for the quarter-finals, with teams in fourth and fifth playing a two-legged play-off for the two remaining places.

From then on, it would have the same two-legged knockout format used in the Champions League ahead of a one-leg final in May in a neutral location.

The ESL says it will generate more money than the Champions League and will result in a greater distribution of the revenue during the game.

What do the leaders of the Super League say?

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo (left) dribbles past AC Milan player Diogo Dalot (right).Juventus and AC Milan have joined the breakaway league plans

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez is the first chairman of the ESL and says: “We will help football at all levels.”

“Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans. As big clubs, we have a responsibility to respond to their requests,” he added.

The chairman of Juventus, Andrea Agnelli, has resigned from the UEFA Executive Committee and as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), which had pushed the planned reforms of the Champions League.

He said the 12 clubs “came together at this critical moment to transform European competition and put the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future”.

Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United, will become vice chairman of the Super League.

He said: “By bringing the world’s greatest clubs and players together to play against each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and financial support for the broader one Increase the football pyramid. ” . “

What was the reaction like?

Essentially widespread condemnation of those not involved in the proposed league.

Johnson said the plans were “very detrimental to football” and French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed French clubs that refused to join.

Uefa issued a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Association, La Liga and the Italian Football Association as well as Serie A stating that they will “stay united” if they try to break the runaway with “everyone” stop available actions “.

The ECA “firmly opposed” the league, while the Football Fans’ Association said the plans were “only motivated by cynical greed”.

Former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy told BBC Sport the plans were “soulless”, while former Manchester United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports he was “utterly disgusted” with former teammate Rio Ferdinand said this at BT Sport, the proposals will hurt the fans the most.

“The Ultimate Betrayal”

Fan groups associated with all six English clubs are strong against the Super League.

Liverpool support group Spirit of Shankly (SOS) said they were “appalled” by the decision by the Fenway Sports Group, the US-based owner of the club.

In a social media post, SOS said: “The FSG has ignored the fans in their relentless and greedy pursuit of money. Football is ours, not theirs. Our football club is ours, not theirs.”

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust described the move as “unforgivable” and said its members and “football fans around the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal”.

The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust called his club’s agreement to “join the death of Arsenal as a sports institution”.

Manchester City FC’s official support club said the move showed that “those involved are disregarding the traditions of the game” and “determined to fight this proposed Super League”.

The Manchester United Supporters Trust had previously said the proposals were “totally unacceptable” and the ESL “goes against everything that football and Manchester United should stand for”.

Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said the ESL was “a concept driven by greed and selfishness at the expense of the intrinsic values ​​of the game that we hold dear”.

analysis

Simon Stone from BBC Sport

If there were still doubts about the desire of these 12 clubs to have their own competition, this was removed by their declaration, which was reinforced by each of them through their own media platforms.

So many questions remain unanswered.

In view of the strong opposition from UEFA and the leagues and associations of the countries concerned, can you actually bring your plan over the line?

But who else will the other three clubs be to form the 15 founding members? Will Bayern Munich and Paris St. Germain join forces at some point? And how are the other five clubs decided?

These discussions will be fascinating. But at the moment the clubs that have signed up for the European Super League are having a PR battle to reverse the perception – because the first reactions were mostly negative.

Jack

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