European Super League: Premier League’s ‘big six’ agree to join new league

Liverpool and Manchester United are two of the most successful teams in English football history.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 clubs that have agreed to join the new European Super League (ESL).

In a seismic shift in European football, Premier League clubs will join AC Milan, Atletico, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

The ESL announced that the founding clubs have agreed to host a new league during the week, with teams continuing to compete in their national leagues.

The first season had to start as soon as possible and three more clubs would join the group.

The ESL also plans to launch the women’s league as soon as possible after the start of the men’s tournament.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UEFA and the Premier League condemned the decision when the news broke on Sunday.

Critics say the measure is motivated solely by money, will destroy national leagues and goes against the integrity of the sport.

Fifa has already stated that it does not recognise such matches and that the players concerned may be banned from taking part in the World Cup.

UEFA, the European governing body, on Sunday reiterated a warning that the participating players would be banned from all further matches at national, European or world level and would no longer be allowed to represent their national team.

Following ESL’s announcement, Fifa expressed its disapproval of the proposed league and called on all parties involved in the heated discussions to maintain a calm, constructive and balanced dialogue in the interest of the game.

ESL has sent a letter to Fifa president Gianni Infantino and UEFA boss Alexander Seferin saying that they will take legal action in the European courts to prevent any sanctions from the two federations against the ESL team.

In a statement, ESL said: Looking ahead, the founding clubs are looking forward to discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work in partnership for better results for both the new competition and football as a whole.

Dion Dublin and Danny Murphy discuss the plans for the European Super League.

Why now?

In October, talks were held with Wall Street bank JP Morgan about a new £4.6bn league to replace the Champions League.

UEFA had hoped that plans for a new 36-team Champions League, whose reforms were due to be confirmed on Monday, would pre-empt the creation of the Super League.

However, all 12 Super League teams feel that the reforms do not go far enough.

They noted that the global pandemic has accelerated the instability of the current European football business model.

In recent months, he said, there have been intensive consultations with footballers about the future set-up of European competitions.

The founding clubs consider that the solutions proposed as a result of these negotiations do not address the fundamental problems, including the need to provide better quality matches and additional funding for the football pyramid as a whole.

What is the proposed format?

The league will have 20 teams – 12 founding members plus three unnamed clubs expected to join the league in the near future, and five teams selected each year on their internal merits.

Under the proposals, the ESL campaign begins in August each year, midweek, and clubs are split into two groups of 10 to compete at home and away.

The top three teams in each group will advance to the quarterfinals, while the fourth and fifth place teams will play each other for the two remaining spots.

From then on, the two knockout matches will be the same as in the Champions League, before the two-leg final is played on neutral ground in May.

According to the ESL, it will bring in more money than the Champions League and lead to more distribution of revenue during the game.

What do the Super League tables say?

Juventus and AC Milan have decided to set up their own league.

Real president Florentino Perez, the first president of the ESL, said the new league would help football at all levels.

Football, he said, is the only global sport with more than four billion fans and it is our responsibility as big clubs to respond to their demands.

Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli has resigned as chairman of UEFA’s Executive Committee and president of the European Club Association (ECA), which pushed through the planned reform of the Champions League.

He said the 12 clubs had come together at this critical moment to reform European competition by giving the beloved sport a sustainable foundation for the long-term future.

It is reported that the 12 clubs have terminated their membership of ECA and their respective representatives on the ECA Board.

Ed Woodward, executive vice-president of Manchester United, and Ferran Soriano, chief executive of Manchester City, have also resigned their posts at Uefa.

Joel Glaser, co-chairman of Manchester United, will become vice-chairman of the Super League.

He said: Bringing together the world’s best clubs and players to compete throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter in European football by providing world-class competition and facilities, as well as increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.

What was the reaction?

In effect, a blanket condemnation of those who do not participate in the proposed league.

Johnson said the plans would be very damaging to football and French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the refusal of French clubs to take part.

UEFA has issued a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Association, La Liga and the Italian Football Association, as well as Serie A, stating that they will continue the fight with all available means.

The ECA stated its strong opposition to the league, while the Football Supporters’ Association stated that the plans were motivated only by cynical greed.

Among the former pros, former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy told Sport that the plans seemed soulless, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports he was absolutely gutted and former teammate Rio Ferdinand told BT Sports that the proposals would hurt fans the most.

Ultimate Betrayal

The supporters groups of the six English clubs involved are strongly opposed to the Super League.

Liverpool’s supporters group, Spirit of Shankly (SOS), is shocked by the decision of the owner of US club Fenway Sports Group.

On social media, SOS said: FSG ignores the fans in his relentless and greedy quest for money. Football is ours, not theirs. Our football club is not their club.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust called the decision inexcusable and said its members and football fans around the world have experienced a complete betrayal.

The Arsenal Support Foundation has cited the club’s agreement to the death of Arsenal as a sporting institution.

Manchester City’s official supporters club said the decision shows that its members have no respect for the traditions of the game, adding that it is determined to fight the Super League project.

The Manchester United Foundation has already stated that the proposals are completely unacceptable and that the ESL goes against all of football and Manchester United should oppose it.

The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust has stated that the ESL is a concept driven by greed and self-interest, to the detriment of the intrinsic values of the game that we hold so dear.

Analysis

Simon Sports Stone.

If there were any doubts about whether the 12 clubs would launch their own league, they have been cleared up by their statement – which was backed by each of them via their own media platforms.

So many questions remain unanswered.

Above all: Can they really go ahead with their project, given the strong opposition from UEFA and the leagues and federations of the countries involved?

But other than that: Which of the three other clubs will provide the 15 charter members? Will Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain ever unite? And how will the other five clubs fare?

These discussions will be fascinating. But now clubs that have attracted players from the European Superleague are fighting with the public to change perceptions, as initial reactions have been overwhelmingly negative.

 

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