European Super League – the key questions: What is it? Who is involved? How likely?
European Super League: What’s happened? Which clubs are involved? What’s been the reaction? How likely is it? What are the potential ramifications? What would be the format and who is financing it?
Remember when we published an article regarding the creation of a European Premier League back on the 22/12/2020? It is now happening.
What has happened?
Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have announced they have agreed to establish a new midweek competition, the European Super League, governed by its ‘Founding Clubs’.
The proposal involves the clubs forming their own competition to rival the UEFA Champions League.
Which clubs are involved?
The Premier League’s big-six clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham – are all involved.
Also, the Spanish Big three clubs as well as the Italian big three are also involved.
Therefore, 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’.
It is anticipated a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which, according to the clubs, ‘is intended to commence as soon as practicable’.
German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are not included and nor are French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
The clubs say that “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.
“The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid.”
However, looking at this idea deeply while working in my office at BraggsSports base in Yaounde, Cameroon, i think this has come about now for one reason, and one reason only.
“I keep saying it is about money, and if you look at the finances, a club like Manchester United playing in the Champions League, they make between £40m and £80m on a good year if they win it,” he said.
“If they play in this new competition, they get a cheque for £250m-£300m to begin with, then in the future they will get three times as much money a season as they get from the Champions League.
“You are looking at £200m-£250m in TV rights, they will be able to sell some of the rights to the games themselves on their own channels, the broadcast rights all over the world.”
What does it mean for the Champions League?
If the Super League goes ahead, it would effectively replace the Champions League.
Sunday’s developments came just 24 hours before UEFA were due to discuss proposed Champions League reforms. The reforms were seen as an attempt to reach a compromise with the clubs in favour of a breakaway competition by offering them more matches.
The reforms were planned to come into effect in 2024, expanding the Champions League to 36 teams, adjusting the format and increasing the number of matches from 125 to 225.
The reforms were intended to favour the clubs central to the Super League and even included a safety net of four qualification spots for clubs based on their past performance in European competition, should they miss out on qualification through domestic competition.
But it seems the reforms do not go far enough for Europe’s biggest clubs.
How likely is this European Super League?
This does feel significant, both for the future of the big five Leagues and European football.
We have been here before – namely Project Big Picture – but what feels different this time is the level of planning and what may or may not have been signed.
The furious reactions from the UEFA and other European leagues signifies just how much this threatens the integrity of domestic and European leagues.
Clubs would need the approval of the associations, who govern the domestic competitions, to join an unsanctioned breakaway league.
“I cannot envisage any scenario where such permission would be granted,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters in a memo to all 20 Premier League clubs.
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