Europe top clubs stir controversy with Super League kickoff in August

MADRID, 19 April 2021:

A dozen of Europe’s top football clubs have announced the creation of new competition – the Super League – to begin in August with midweek matches, putting it in direct contest with the Champions League.

The clubs – including Spain’s Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, England’s Manchester United and Liverpool and Italy’s Juventus and AC Milan – announced the formation of the new league yesterday.

Three more clubs would be invited to join “before the opening season starts as soon as possible,” the leading European football clubs said in a statement.

“The founding clubs look forward to future discussions with UEFA and FIFA to identify the best solutions for the Super League and for world football as a whole.”

The formation of the new league was a response to the pandemic-triggered “instability of the current economic model of European football,” the statement said.

“The founding clubs have for years aimed to improve the quality and strength of existing European competitions and, in particular, to create a tournament in which the best clubs and players can compete against each other on a more frequent basis.”

The statement said the pandemic showed that “a strategic vision and commercial approach is needed to increase value and support for the benefit of the football pyramid as a whole.”

The statement said the clubs held “intensive consultation” over the past few months with the governing bodies on the future format of European competitions.

The clubs believed the solutions proposed by the regulators did not resolve the fundamental issues related to offering higher quality matches and obtaining additional financial resources for the football world.

There will be 20 clubs competing in the league. The 15 Founder Clubs and five additional teams will qualify annually based on the previous season’s performance;

The statement said all matches would take place midweek, and all clubs would continue to compete in their respective domestic leagues, preserving the traditional fixtures at the heart of club life.

The season will start in August with clubs participating in two groups of 10, playing home and away matches.

The top three in each group will qualify for the quarterfinals. The teams finishing fourth and fifth will play an additional two-legged playoffs.

Following this, two-legged playoffs will take place from the quarterfinals onwards, leading to the final, which will be played as a single match at the end of May at a neutral venue.

The statement noted a women’s league will also be rolled out after the launch of the men’s competition for “the progress and development of the ladies’ game.”

The solidarity payments, according to the statement, will be greater than those currently generated by the European club competition system and are expected to exceed €10,000 million during the period the clubs have committed to.

The statement said the new competition would be built based on sustainable financial criteria as all of the founding members have committed to a spending framework.

“In exchange for that commitment, the clubs will receive a total one-off payment of €3.5 billion for the sole purpose of investing in infrastructure and offsetting the impact of the pandemic.”

The announcement sparked numerous reactions.

A joint statement from UEFA, English, Spanish and Italian FAs and leagues said they were “united in our efforts to stop this cynical project.”

British prime minister Boris Johnson and French president Emmanuel Macron also denounced the plans.

– EFE