Twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs on Monday said they planned to launch a breakaway Super League, despite the threat of an international ban for them and their players.
“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," said a statement by the group.
The founding clubs will receive “a one-time payment of the order of 3.5 billion euros".
“Three additional clubs will be invited to join them before the start of the inaugural season which will start as soon as practicable," added the organisers.
UEFA said earlier Sunday that players from the 12 clubs faced international exile and described it as “a cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs".
However, the 12 insisted the new competition will benefit the game in general.
“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," said Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League.
If the figure of a 3.5 billion euro windfall is confirmed, it will represent a greater revenue than currently generated by UEFA for all of its club competitions — Champions League, Europa League and European Super Cup — which generated 3.2 billion euros in TV revenue in 2018-2019.
According to the promoters, the Super League would operate in the form of a regular season between 20 clubs.
The 15 founders will automatically qualify each year and the other five will be drawn from invitations “through a system based on their performance from the previous season".
At the end of this first phase starting in August, end of season play-offs would be organised until May to award the trophy.
Games will be staged in midweek.
Monday’s announcement came just hours before UEFA meets in Switzerland to announce its own reforms to the Champions League, with an expansion to 36 teams from 32 and two ‘wildcard’ slots expected to be among the plans.
There would be a minimum of 10 games for each team.
The Super League said they hoped to work with UEFA and FIFA to avoid a civil war in the sport.
“Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole," they said.
Florentino Perez, the president of Real Madrid and the chairman of the Super League, also insisted that the game as a whole will benefit.
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world," he said.
“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."
All you need to know:
Who is in the European Super League?
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Tottenham (all ENG), Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid (all ESP), Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan (all ITA) are confirmed till now with the total teams being 20. They want three more to complete a list of 15 so-called founder clubs. Those wanted clubs are likely Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Germany, and Paris Saint-Germain from France. The 15 permanent members would be joined by five more who could qualify each year “based on achievements in the prior season.”
How much will the teams earn?
The 15 would share at least 3.5 billion euros ($4.2 billion) each year with graded payments. In previous proposals in January, the top six clubs are set to each get 350 million euros ($420 million).
How the European Super League works?
Two groups of 10 clubs; Top three in each group qualify for quarter-finals, play-offs between fourth and fifth-placed teams for final last-eight spots
When does European Super League start?
“As soon as practicable"; Annual start date in August
Who are heading the European Super League?
Florentino Perez, Real Madrid president, will act as League president along with Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer acting as League vice-presidents.
Why the announcement was made?
UEFA’s executive committee is scheduled to begin a meeting on Monday in Montreux, Switzerland, that would approve a new expanded Champions League format taking effect in 2024. That plan is now in jeopardy. A group of 12 clubs finally confirmed its proposed 20-team competition in coordinated statements as Sunday turned to Monday in central Europe, at a time seemingly designed to appeal to new fans in Asia and North America.
What will happen to Premier League, Serie A, La Liga…?
The clubs say they want to continue playing in their domestic leagues at weekends. Juventus said it would be willing to continue playing in UEFA’s club competitions until the Super League is launched. UEFA and the domestic leagues in England, Italy and Spain are unlikely to let this happen. They were joined by the national federation in each country earlier Sunday pledging to “remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project.” Expelling any Super League club from the traditional structure of European soccer is the strongest defense UEFA and domestic competitions have.
Will the players be able to play for their country?
FIFA and UEFA have previously warned that players at Super League clubs would be banned from representing national teams in competitions they organize. UEFA’s European Championship and South America’s Copa America kick off in June. Qualifying games for FIFA’s 2022 World Cup resume in Europe in September. Super League clubs said they want talks with FIFA, whose own statement early Monday expressed “disapproval” without entirely closing the door on such a project. A previous Super League project document detailed how 12 of the teams could advance to the expanded 24-team Club World Cup which FIFA wants to launch in China possibly in 2023.(With inputs from Agencies)