Many of Europe’s richest football clubs have agreed to participate in a “Super League” breakaway match that would mark the game’s greatest transformation in decades.
Up to 12 clubs have joined a plan, backed by $ 6 billion in JPMorgan debt financing, to launch a new tournament that would replace the Champions League, currently the continent’s premier annual club competition.
According to people with knowledge of the discussions, those ready to take part in the breakaway match include Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona; England Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea; and the Italian Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. These clubs declined or did not respond to a request for comment.
According to The Washington City Times documents, the new league would involve 20 clubs, 15 of which are “permanent members,” meaning they could not be relegated and did not need to qualify due to strong performances in national leagues.
The founding members would each receive between € 100 million and € 350 million and would continue to play in their national leagues, such as the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga. With expected revenues of € 4 billion for the competition through media sales and sponsorships, clubs would receive a flat fee of € 264 million per year. JPMorgan declined to comment.
The clubs that have not yet signed up include France’s Paris Saint-Germain and Germany’s Bayern Munich, one of the richest in Europe, according to people close to the discussions.
A statement about the Super League aims to make an alternative plan for a radical transformation of the Champions League, led by Uefa, the governing body of European football.
Uefa’s annual conference on Monday will adopt a radically new format for its league, with an additional 100 games per season and more money-consuming ties between top teams.
That move comes after the European Club Association, a body representing the interests of more than 200 leading teams and led by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, met last week to discuss proposed reforms to the continent’s club tournaments.
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The ECA agreed to allow Uefa to proceed with the proposed format changes, but there was widespread dissatisfaction with the plan as leading clubs wanted more assurance about a new joint venture that will grant all media and sponsorship rights for European club competitions would control.
Uefa’s attempts to contact Agnelli this weekend to find out if Juventus had agreed to participate in the Super League have failed, according to people close to the discussions. However, other major power brokers have been made aware, such as La Liga chief Javier Tebas, who is one of the football officials seeking to block the escape plan.
Uefa said it was united with Europe’s top leagues, national governing bodies and FIFA in “efforts to stop this cynical project, one based on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever”.
It added that it would consider “all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting, to prevent this”.
The London newspaper Times reported for the first time on Sunday that a number of clubs had agreed in principle to participate in the Super League.
Leading clubs, faced with significant income arrears due to the pandemic, are excited about the new league, which they say will guarantee revenue from European matches every season. It can also include cost control aspects such as possible salary ceilings and spending limits.
The competition would resemble the structure of ‘closed’ North American sports leagues, where franchise owners enjoy reliable winnings and where team ratings steadily increase over time.
But the plan breaks with the pyramid structure of the European game, where even the smallest teams can win the biggest trophies through strong performances on the field.