Six of England’s top clubs have announced they are to participate in a breakaway European Super League. This is what you need to know.
Everything You Need to Know As Elite Club’s Announce European Super League
What Is the European Super League and What Effect Will It Have On Football? Your Questions Answered
Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have announced they will form a new mid-week competition to run alongside existing tournaments.
The new European Super League will be governed by its ‘founding clubs’, a statement said, and the new midweek competition will rival the Champions League tournament.
Of those teams set to join, six are from England – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea.
They will be joined by AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid as the remaining founding clubs. Three more teams will also join prior to their inaugural campaign.
German teams Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are not included and neither are French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
Around $5 billion has been committed to the programme by the American banking firm JP Morgan.
What Would the Format Be?
A statement on the Super League website says: “The Super League is a new European competition between 20 top clubs compromised of 15 founders and five annual qualifiers.
“There will be two groups of 10 clubs each, playing home and away fixtures within the group each year.
“Following the group stage, eight clubs will qualify for a knockout tournament, playing home and away until the single-match Super League championship, in a dramatic four-week end to the season.
“Games will be played midweek, and all clubs will remain in their domestic leagues.”
What Does This Mean For European Competitions?
It is no secret that clubs in the Champions League have wanted to improve the quality on offer. The pandemic has, however, shown that a sustainable commercial model is needed in order to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid.
Several clubs have reportedly been in discussions with football stakeholders regarding potential changes to European competitions.
A statement from UEFA said: “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other domestic competition, European or International level, and the players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
Rumours have circulated that this season’s Europa League and Champions League competitions will be paused; journalist Fabrizio Romano tweeted to say that a meeting will be had “in the next hours” for UEFA to clarify their standpoint.
What Has the Response to the Announcement Been?
The overall response to the announcement has been one of widespread condemnation.
UEFA has threatened to ban clubs and players from featuring in any kind of European or international football.
A statement from FIFA, meanwhile, said: “FIFA can only express its disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles.”
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, tweeted: “With many fans, we are concerned that this plan could create a closed shop at the very top of our national game.
“Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that undermines this is deeply troubling and damaging for football.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson added: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action.
“They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.”
What Do Those Involved Have to Say?
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who will be the first chairman of the Super League, said in a statement: “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.”
Joel Glazer, co-chairman at Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League, added: “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.”
Note: This is an evolving story and these details are correct as of 1.30 am BST on April 19.