The new European Super League is announced to replace the Champions League

European Super League – New Super League launched to replace Champions League with 60-80 team tournament

European Super League – New Super League launched to replace Champions League with 60-80 team tournament

Supporters of the European Super League have announced they want to launch a new version of the project that failed two years ago: a multi-divisional competition with 60-80 teams with no permanent members and at least 14 games per club per season.

The announcement was published in various European newspapers by A22, the Madrid-based sister company of the Super League (ESL), and was timed to coincide with a fresh push by the three remaining rebels Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus to continue their battle with Uefa.

A22 claim the new project is the result of detailed discussions with clubs across Europe about the financial issues they are facing. In recent months, A22 and the ESL have focused their attacks on the Premier League’s wealth, its dominance of the transfer market and the impact on other European leagues with less lucrative TV deals.

There are no details yet on how the original 60-80 squads will be composed or how they would exit the proposed competition to make way for new clubs. The original ESL was pilloried in April 2021 for offering permanent membership to its founding clubs, six of which were from the Premier League: the two Manchester clubs Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

The format of the proposed new Super League has been kept secret by Real, Barcelona and Juventus, but even now there are questions about how it could work – if there had ever been the legal leeway. A22, as well as its big supporters like Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, have claimed in the past that there would be higher solidarity payments for clubs not participating in European competitions.

La Liga president Javier Tebas was one of the first to react to Thursday’s announcement. He tweeted: “Super League is the wolf dressed up as granny today to try to fool European football but his nose and teeth are very big. Four divisions in Europe? Of course the [top division] for her [the founding clubs], as in the 2019 plan. Management of the clubs? Of course only from the big ones.”

“Clubs bear the entrepreneurial risk in football”

Writing in the German newspaper Welt, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart continued the attack on Uefa by claiming that the clubs had no say in the conduct of their competitions. He said: “It is the clubs that bear the entrepreneurial risk in football. But when it comes to important decisions, they all too often have to stand by and watch the sporting and financial foundations run under their hands. Our discussions have also made it clear that clubs often find it impossible to publicly speak out against a system that uses the threat of sanctions to prevent resistance.”

Reichart made other claims about support for women’s football, support for national competitions, player health and financial sustainability rules and fan experience (see analysis below). There are commitments to follow up on all of these issues, but no details on how much revenue will be generated or who might run the ESL. In its first iteration in 2021, power was concentrated in the hands of Perez; Andrea Agnelli, the former chairman of Juventus; and Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer.

It is the most powerful clubs outside of the Rebel Three who have helped shape the new format for the post-2024 UEFA Champions League – the so-called ‘Swiss model’, in which 36 teams play ten group games in a single league instead of the previous six. As for the richness of these competitions, Uefa and the powerful European Club Association, which represents clubs across Europe, jointly own a joint venture that controls all revenue from the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League.

The original European Super League was dealt a major blow ahead of Christmas in its long-running legal battle with Uefa at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Advocate General Athanasios Rantos’ advice to the court was strongly in favor of the Uefa monopoly.

The advice of the Advocate General is not binding on the judges of the ECJ, but is followed in most cases. He found EU competition law to be compatible with the restrictions that Uefa and Fifa’s power imposes over football and “proportionate” to achieve Uefa’s “legitimate objectives” in line with EU sport policy to reach.

The ten point manifesto of the new Super League and what we can learn from it

By Tom Morgan

Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, claims that European football is at a “tipping point” and announced the following 10-point manifesto for the new Super League.

1. More teams than the original Super League plan
As part of A22’s vision for “broad-based and merit-based competitions”, a European multi-divisional competition for 60 to 80 teams would be launched, “allowing for a sustainable distribution of revenue across the pyramid”. Contrary to the previous proposal, which was controversially backed by England’s so-called Big Six, participation “should be based on annual sporting merit and there should be no permanent members”.

“An open qualification based on domestic performance would give emerging clubs access to the competition while maintaining competitive momentum at national level,” says A22.

2. An outlier replacing Uefa competitions but not national leagues
In an apparent attempt to calm the earlier uproar, A22 declares that the domestic leagues are the “foundation of football”. “Participating clubs should continue to give their full commitment to domestic tournaments, as they do today,” says A22. “Simultaneously, [there is] the critical need to strengthen domestic tournaments and make them more competitive”.

The Super League’s commitment to preserving existing domestic leagues would not necessarily protect potential Premier League signings from being left out of the English football pyramid if they did join.

3. A guarantee of 14 European matches for each club
Thursday’s Super League announcement comes after a transfer window in which Chelsea’s £288m spending dwarfed the £190m total for all 78 clubs in France, Spain, Germany and Italy. Serie A saw the sharpest year-on-year fall in gross transfer spending, falling 84 per cent from £163m in January 2022 to £25m in January 2023 – the league’s lowest spend since 2006. La Liga also saw a 63 per cent drop in spending.

A22 suggests that a European league with divisions would start to close this gap. “Revenue stability and predictability would be dramatically improved if clubs were offered at least 14 guaranteed European games per season,” adds A22.

4. A total limit for games
Players’ union Fifpro and elite managers including Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have been harsh critics of the already packed fixture schedule. The A22 answer is that “player health must be at the heart of the game”. The number of games will “not be increased beyond those in the currently planned competition calendars,” according to A22.

“Importantly, European clubs and players should not be obliged to participate in expanded or new tournaments imposed by third parties,” says A22 in an apparent reference to Fifa’s proposals to expand the World Cup and Uefa’s plan to expand the Champions League.

5. A competition run by clubs rather than blazers
This is A22’s version of the ‘take back control’ slogan coined during Brexit. The idea is to have a Premier League style club ownership system but with more safeguards. “The governance structure must be fully compliant with EU law,” says A22. “To improve sustainability, spending should be based only on the resources generated, not on competition-distorting capital injections.”

6th European competition throughout the season
The rapid growth of Premier League foreign television rights in recent years has been fueled by an explosive interest in the US market. “It is also critical that younger generations, drawn to the globally expanding US esports and digital entertainment, continue to embrace football as the world’s most popular sport,” says A22.

7. A plan to relieve the burden on traveling fans
A22 recognizes that “additional measures should be taken to facilitate the attendance of fans at away games” and says dialogue with fan groups should be increased. However, there is no talk of cost limits for the tickets.

8. Financial boost for women’s football
It’s unclear if the European breakaway would have a similar lineup for women’s football. Instead, A22 says that “funding should be expanded well beyond existing contributions from women’s European club competitions”.

9. Encouraging core funding
At least €400m a year would be paid to grassroots football, which A22 says is “more than double the contribution from existing European club competitions”.

10. Alignment of the breakaways with the EU
With its apparent commitment to the EU, the A22 may have resigned itself to starting without the involvement of English clubs. “Stakeholders must embrace EU values, laws and fundamental freedoms,” says the group.


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