European Super League: Everything you need to know on controversial new proposal
On Sunday night a 738-word statement was released confirming plans for a new Super League involving a number of Europe’s 'elite’ clubs.
Here is everything you need to know about the proposal for the new tournament.
What is the Super League?
It is a new midweek competition set to run alongside the domestic leagues and likely replace the clubs’ involvement in the Champions League and Europa League.
Who is involved?
AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as ‘Founding Clubs’, while there is an expectation that three more clubs will join.
What is the format?
The tournament will have 20 teams, including the 15 ‘Founding Clubs’, split into two groups of ten. They will play each other home and away with the top three in each group progressing to a quarter-final knockout stage where they will be joined by the winners of a play-off between those teams finishing fourth and fifth in the respective leagues. Two-legged ties will take place at the quarter-final and semi-final stages with a final at a neutral venue.
Who are the other five teams?
The quintet making up the 20 team tournament will “qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season”.
When will it start?
It is “intended to commence as soon as practicable” with the Super League earmarking an August start.
Why the new Super League?
*Rubs thumb and index finger together*
Of course, it comes down to money.
“The competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework," the statement read.
"In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.”
Don’t the team just want an elite competition?
That may be part of the reason. There have been constant talks of Champions League reform.
The statement noted: “The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model. Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.”
However, let’s get real. It’s about the bottom line. It’s always about the money with these clubs and their owners.
As football finance blogger Swiss Ramble points out, the 12 clubs lost more than £1.2billion collectively during season 2019/20 before player sales. That was a period where the coronavirus impacted just three months.
What does it mean for other clubs?
SOLIDARITY PAYMENTS! You guys, you really shouldn’t have!
The statement said: “The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues.
“These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs.”
What has been the reaction from Uefa?
Not just Uefa, but organisations in Spain, England and Italy have condemned the plans and revealed plans to “stop this cynical project… founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever”.
A statement said: "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 Confederations, 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.”
No German or French teams?
So far, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have rejected the plans.
What has been the reaction from fans and pundits?
These Super League proposals have done something very little else could within football, bringing many people together on the issue.
"I'm a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years of my life but I'm disgusted, absolutely disgusted,” he said.
"It's an absolute disgrace.
"Honestly, we have to wrestle back the power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league - and that includes my club.
"It's pure greed. They're imposters."
He added: "This is the biggest sport in the world and it's a criminal act against the fans. Simple as that. Deduct points, deduct their money, and punish them."
View from Scotland
Scottish football doesn’t have a seat at the top table in European football. We don’t even have our face pressed against the window looking in. We're probably one of those giving other leagues a boost to be able to look in.
There is a relief, almost, that Scottish football is far removed from what is going.
Some players have had their say, while Ally McCoist expressed his hope that Celtic and Rangers don’t get involved given the chance.
"I'd be so against it,” the Rangers legend said. “I just hate the principle of it, I really do. I think it's unfair.”
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