Twelve of the best football clubs in Europe have announced plans to form the so-called European super league,
in a move that looks set to shake the foundations of the sport’s major competitions, including the biggest leagues in England, Spain, and Italy and that it will last until the end. to the World Cup.
In a joint announcement on Sunday night, six English clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur) alongside three teams from Italy (AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus) and three from Spain ( Atlético de Madrid and Barcelona). and Real Madrid – presented plans to form a separatist competition, referred to in the ad as the Super League.
The group plans to add three additional clubs before the inaugural Super League season, which is “intended to start as soon as possible,” according to the announcement posted on the 12 clubs’ websites.
The joint statement says the league will ultimately be made up of 20 clubs and will be governed by the founding clubs.
Joel Glazer, Manchester United Co-President and Super League Vice President, said: “By bringing together the best clubs and players in the world to meet each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring competitions and facilities of the first tier, and greater financial support for the soccer pyramid in general. ”
The plans, which would represent the most significant shakeup of elite European football in recent history, were met with immediate condemnation from politicians, fans, former players, and regulators of the sport.
FIFA, the world’s governing body for football, denounced the formation of the Super League and said it goes against FIFA’s fundamental principles of solidarity, inclusion, integrity, and equitable financial redistribution.
“FIFA can only express its disapproval of a ‘closed European separatist league’ outside international football structures and without respecting the aforementioned principles,” FIFA said in a statement.
Super League players could face bans
In a statement issued in January, after rumors about the new Super League began to circulate, FIFA said it would not recognize the dissident organization and went on to say that “any club or player involved in such competition will not be able to participate in any organized competition. by FIFA or its respective confederation ”.
That would include the biggest competition in soccer, the World Cup, which is held every four years; the Champions League, which now brings together the best clubs in Europe every year, and regional competitions such as the European Cup or the African Cup.
In Sunday’s UEFA statement, reference was made to the previous FIFA statement in which it stressed that Super League clubs “will not be able to play in any other competition at national, European or world level, and could refuse to their players the opportunity to represent their national teams. ”
Even before the official announcement of the Super League on Sunday, the European football governing body along with several other governing bodies and leagues issued a joint statement condemning the formation of the new league. UEFA, which oversees all of European football, together with the governing bodies of England, Spain, and Italy and the top-tier leagues in those three countries, jointly signed the statement.
“We want to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English Football Association, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will continue to be united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is based on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever ”, says his statement in part. “We will consider all the measures within our reach, at all levels, both judicial and sporting, to prevent this from happening. Soccer is based on open competitions and sporting merit; can not it be a different way “.
No German or French club participated in the formation of the Super League. Christian Seifert, executive director of the German Football Association (DFL), said his organization opposes the concept of a European Super League.
“The economic interest of some major clubs in England, Italy, and Spain should not lead to the abolition of established structures in European football as a consequence,” Seifert said in a statement. Seifert added that it would be “irresponsible to irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football.”
England’s Premier League, the most-watched of the world’s football leagues, condemned the Super League plan as a blow to the hopes of the millions of European Super League would destroy this dream, ”a Premier League statement said.
“It is clear that this would be damaging to English and European football at all levels and will attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are fundamental to competitive sport,” said a statement from England’s Football Association, which oversees one of the sport’s oldest and most-storied competitions, the FA Cup.
European political leaders quickly came out against plans for the new league.
“They would strike at the heart of the domestic game and will concern fans across the country. The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps, ”UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
“The president of the Republic welcomes the position of French clubs to refuse to participate to a European football Super League project that threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid CF and the first chairman of the Super League, disagrees with critics of his group’s potential impact on the sport.
“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires, ”Pérez said in a statement,
The Super League announcement said the global Covid-19 pandemic showed that change was needed to sustain the sport, which has seen revenues damaged as games have been canceled or playing in empty stadiums.
“The global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model,” the statement said.
“The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid,” it said.
The Super League says its founding clubs “look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.”
The organizers of the Super League also announced plans to launch a corresponding women’s league “as soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition.”