Wednesday 5/12/21

Twelve top European football clubs agree to found new Super League

UEFA and football leagues and federations from England, Italy and Spain spoke of "a 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."

06 April 2021, Spain, Madrid: Real Madrid's Luka Modric battles for the ball with Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara (L) and Fabinho during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Liverpool at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium. Photo: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire/dpa
Real Madrid's Luka Modric battles with Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara (L) and Fabinho during a Champions League match. Photo: Isabel Infantes/dpa.

Twelve top European football clubs have agreed to found a Super League as soon as possible, the clubs announced in a joint statement.

The founding clubs of the mid-week league were listed as Premier League clubs Manchester United and Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea; Italy's Juventus and Milan clubs AC and Inter, and the Spanish trio of Barcelona, Real and Atletico Madrid.

"It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable," the 12 clubs said in a joint statement.

Reported to be financially very lucrative, the project does not have the support of football's governing bodies.

Fifteen of the 20 participating clubs are to be permanent members, and the remaining five will "qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season," the statement said.

According to the New York Times the new league would "generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the participating teams, which are already the richest clubs in the sport."

Champions League title holders Bayern Munich and runners-up Paris Saint-Germain are said not to be among the clubs who have signed up or expressed interest.

UEFA: 'A cynical project'

In a statement released before the announcement, UEFA and football leagues and federations from England, Italy and Spain spoke of "a 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.

"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.

"We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this."

Before the announcement the Premier League said it "condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid."

The FA also condemned the plans and German Football League chief Christian Seifert said his body "rejects any kind of European Super League concept" which would "irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football."

The latest development comes on the eve of a UEFA executive committee meeting which apart from finalizing the host cities for the summer's Euro tournament is also to approve a Champions League reform from 2024 onwards.

'Swiss model' for Champions League

The powerful European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA's club competitions committee were reportedly in agreement Friday about the reform under which the elite event is to be increased from 32 to 36 teams and each team plays 10 instead of six group games in what is known as "the Swiss model."

Two of the additional four clubs are to be controversially come via historic results not through qualification via domestic action.

The large number of additional matches is a threat to domestic competitions and fan groups have also voiced their dissent, with an even bigger upcry expected if a Super League becomes reality.

The reports said that European officials were discussing counter measures which could include banning Super League clubs from next season's Champions League.

"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," the UEFA statement said.

"We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough."