Just when football fans thought they would never have to worry about it again, a new-look European Super League has been proposed, nearly two years after the breakaway football tournament was announced.
A22, a company formed to sponsor and assist with the creation of the Super League, said they had consulted with nearly 50 European clubs since October last year and developed 10 principles based on that consultation which underpin its plans for a new-look league. A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart outlined the plans of the rebranded mega-money competition.
- Reichart said: “The foundations of European football are in danger of collapsing. It’s time for a change. It is the clubs that bear the entrepreneurial risk in football. But when important decisions are at stake, they are too often forced to sit idly by on the sidelines as the sporting and financial foundations crumble around them.
- “Our talks have also made it clear that clubs often find it impossible to speak out publicly against a system that uses the threat of sanctions to thwart the opposition.
- “Our dialogue was open, honest, and constructive and resulted in clear ideas about what changes are needed and how they could be implemented. There is a lot to do and we will continue our dialogue.”
The key proposals for the new-look, open European Super League are:
- 60-80 teams
- Multiple divisions
- No permanent members
- Minimum of 14 games per club, per season
European Super League – How did we get here?
The birth of the idea of a new Super League can be traced as far back, as the 1990s, when wealthy European clubs threatened to break away into a super league. This was to force UEFA into giving them more champions league money, and format changes in their favour.
Plans went on behind the scenes despite the creation of the European Club Association (ECA) in 2008, to make long-term peace with UEFA, and lock club leaders into the champions league consultation.
In October 2020, in his resignation speech, outgoing Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed Super League plans, reportedly backed by Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez.
UEFA, in December 2020, in a bid to pacify aggrieved clubs and provide the extra games and money demanded, started working on a 36-team champions league plan. This was projected to start in 2024.
Rumours of the imminent super league started gaining ground in April 2021, and the 12-team Super League is later announced in coordinated statements from the clubs.
Speculations peaked on 20th April 2021, when Madrid president, Florentino Perez, in an overnight Spanish show claimed the project would save European football.
The announcement was met with widespread criticism from football fans, pundits, past and current players, media and as well as notable figures across divides.
The premier league made the first move to crack the ‘poisonous’ project, as the other 14 teams in England met to discuss the 6 rebels.
The project collapsed in the evening, with Manchester City and Chelsea being the first two teams to withdraw. Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward, a leading agitator, announced he will leave his job later that year. And by midnight, all six English clubs were out.
The next morning, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus drop out, leaving only Real Madrid and Barcelona.
It’s February 2022, and plans have continued.
The Role of English teams in the Super League project
The premier league is the most followed league in the world, and they seemingly hold a key to whether the project would be a success, or not. It took their withdrawal to water down the whole plan, and it is less likely they are going to entertain any further talks this time.
- The last time they tried to break away, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man United, Man City and Tottenham were all fined. All clubs in the English top flight also signed up to the following commitment: “We are collectively committed to the Premier League and recognize our responsibility to support it.
- “We will not engage in the creation of new competition formats outside of the Premier League’s rules.”
When asked whether the Super League needs to have Premier League teams in order for it to thrive, A22 chief executive, Bernd Reichart admitted English teams are not a necessity.
“This project is not dependent on one specific territory to join. I’m not excluding anything. Our wish would be to have the best European tournament. That continues to be objective.”
If one country, FA, or one league is not able to join and will not join the European competition that is brought on the way, this project will not die.”
To have a European Super League which anyone is ever going to watch, you’re going to need to have English teams in it. A22 has projected 2024/25 as the start date for the new league, let’s see how things change for them between now, and then.