Move to introduce European Super League triggers war in football
The Big Six of English football have joined a new European Super League — scheduled to start ‘as soon as practicable’ — in a seismic move that has triggered war across the sport.
The decision threatens to split English football, with the Premier League on Sunday night indicating in a letter to clubs that it would not sanction any such competition — leaving Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham no choice but to back down or break away.
The group have all agreed to be part of a predominantly closed-shop league also featuring Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are understood to have rejected the idea, although the plan is to expand the league to 15 founding members, with a further five annual qualifiers in what is a rapidly changing situation.
Fans, politicians, governing bodies and some of football’s most famous names joined in condemning the staggering development, which was the brainchild of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and was officially announced in a statement late on Sunday night.
A simple opening paragraph which shook the world of football declared: ‘Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.’
The bombshell press release added that the founding clubs ‘look forward’ to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA.
Major US bank JP Morgan, a former employer of Manchester United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, are debt financing the new league which will see founding clubs receive £3.03billion, which is set against future broadcast revenue.
The statement added that the move would ‘improve the quality and intensity of existing European competitions’.
In a rare public comment, United co-chairman Joel Glazer brazenly claimed that the closed shop would provide ‘increased financial support for the wider football pyramid’.
A format was also released which said there would be 20 teams and matches would take place in midweek and not affect domestic calendars, with an August start.
UEFA, who were due to announce their own proposals for a revamped Champions League on Monday, reacted with fury to the news which had broken earlier on Sunday.
UEFA president Aleksandser Ceferin is said to be furious as he had expected to publish a joint statement with Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli at the weekend condemning plans for the Super League. But alarm bells started ringing on Saturday when Ceferin could not contact his old friend to finalise the wording.
Agnelli has resigned from his seat on the European Club Association and from his role on UEFA’s executive committee. Unconfirmed reports late on Sunday night claimed all of the founding clubs had also stepped away from the ECA.
The new league represents an American takeover of elite European football, which will become a closed shop run by its founder members.
One source described it as ‘a US-led operation’, adding: ‘This is down mostly to the Americans at Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal who have believed for a long time that they should be making a lot more money.
Then you have Tottenham, who have just built a big new stadium and who would no doubt benefit from infrastructure payments. Chelsea and Man City, who have been reluctant, do not really need the money but there is the obvious fear of missing out.’
Perez is the first chief of the new league, with the likes of Glazer and Agnelli in vice-chairmen’s roles. Chelsea and Manchester City are thought to have been presented with the proposals as late as Friday, with Manchester City the last to sign on Saturday.
England’s six clubs are not intending to resign from domestic football but would need Premier League permission to join any new competitions.
Daily Mail Online