Supporters of the European Super League have revealed they want to launch a new version of the project that failed two years ago: a multi-division competition of 60 to 80 teams with no permanent members and a minimum of 14 matches per club, per season.
The announcement was made in various European newspapers by A22, the sister company of the Madrid-based Super League (ESL), and timed to coincide with a fresh push by the three remaining rebels Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus to continue the their battle with UEFA.
A22 says the new project is the result of in-depth conversations with clubs across Europe about the financial issues they face. In recent months the A22 and ESL have focused their attacks on the wealth of the Premier League, its dominance of the transfer market and the effect it has on other European leagues with less lucrative TV deals.
There are still no details on how the original 60-80 squads would have been formed or how they would have abandoned the proposed competition to make way for new clubs. The original ESL, in April 2021, was pilloried for offering permanent membership to its founding clubs, six of which came from the Premier League: the two clubs from Manchester, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The format of the proposed new Super League has been kept a secret by Real, Barcelona and Juventus, but even now there are still questions about how it could work, if it were ever given the legal space to operate. A22, as well as its biggest supporters such as Real president Florentino Perez, have said in the past that there would be increased solidarity payments for clubs not participating in European competitions.
Javier Tebas, president of La Liga, was among the first to respond to Thursday’s announcement. He tweeted: “Superlega is the wolf, who today dresses up as a granny to try and cheat European football, but her nose and teeth are very big. Four divisions in Europe? Of course the [top division] for them [the founding clubs], as in the 2019 plan. Club governance? Of course, only from the grown-ups.”
‘Clubs bear entrepreneurial risk in football’
Writing in the German newspaper Welt, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart continued his attack on UEFA by stating that clubs have no say in the conduct of its competitions. He said: “It is the clubs that bear the entrepreneurial risk in football. But when it comes to big decisions, they are too often forced to stand by as the sporting and financial foundations race under their hands. Our talks also made it clear that it is often impossible for clubs to publicly raise their voices against a system that uses the threat of sanctions to preempt the opposition.”
Reichart made other claims about support for the women’s game, support for national competitions, player health and financial sustainability rules, and the fan experience (see analysis below). There are pledges to pursue all of these issues, but no details on how much revenue will be generated for doing so or who might run ESL. In its first iteration in 2021, power was concentrated in Perez’s hands; Andrea Agnelli, former president of Juventus; and Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer.
They are the most powerful clubs outside the three rebels who have helped shape UEFA’s new post-2024 Champions League format – the so-called ‘Swiss model’ which will see 36 teams in a single division play ten group stage matches instead of one. ‘current you are. As for the wealth of these competitions, UEFA and the powerful European Club Association, which represents clubs from across Europe, are co-owners of a joint venture that controls all revenue from the Champion League, Europa League and Europa League. conference league.
The original European Super League suffered a major blow before Christmas in its long-running lawsuit 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 Advocate General’s opinion is not binding on the judges of the Court of Justice, but in most cases it is followed. He found EU competition law compatible with the restrictions UEFA and the power of FIFA have placed on football and “proportionate” to the achievement of UEFA’s “legitimate objectives” in line with FIFA policy. EU on sport.
The ten-point manifesto of the new Superlega and what we can learn from it
By Tom Morgan
Bernd Reichart, the chief executive of A22, says European football is at a “tipping point” and has announced the following 10-point manifesto for the new Super League.
1. More teams than the original Super League plan
According to A22’s vision for “competition on a broad and meritocratic basis”, a multi-divisional European competition of 60 to 80 teams would be launched, “allowing for a sustainable distribution of revenues across the pyramid”. Unlike the previous controversial proposal backed by England’s so-called big six, participation “should be based on annual sporting merit and there should be no permanent members”.
“Open qualification based on domestic performance would ensure emerging clubs entry into the competition while maintaining competitive dynamics domestically,” says A22.
2. A breakaway that replaces UEFA competitions but not national championships
In an apparent attempt to calm the earlier turmoil, A22 says national leagues are the “foundation of football”. “Participating clubs should remain fully committed to domestic tournaments as they do today,” says A22. “At the same time, [there is] the fundamental need to strengthen and make national tournaments more competitive”.
The Super League’s commitment to preserving existing domestic leagues would not necessarily save any Premier League entrants from being kicked out of the English football pyramid if they 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 combined. Serie A has seen the steepest year-on-year decline in gross transfer spending, falling 84% from £163m in January 2022 to £25m in January 2023, the league’s lowest spend since 2006. La Liga also saw a 63% drop. drop in spending.
A22 suggests that a European league with divisions would begin to fill this gap. “The stability and predictability of revenue would be greatly improved by offering clubs a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches each season,” A22 adds.
4. An overall match limit
Players union Fifpro and elite managers including Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are fierce critics of the already full playing calendars. A22’s response is that “the player’s health must be the focus of the game”. The number of matches “would not be increased beyond those foreseen in the currently planned competition calendars,” says A22.
“Importantly, European clubs and players should not be forced 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 in place. “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 capital injections that distort competition.”
6. Seasonal European Competition
The Premier League’s rapid growth in overseas broadcasting rights in recent years has been fueled by an explosion of interest in the US market. “It’s also imperative that younger generations, drawn to the global expansion of US sports and digital entertainment, continue to embrace soccer as the world’s favorite sport,” says A22.
7. A plan to lighten the load on traveling fans
A22 acknowledges that “further steps should be taken to facilitate supporter participation in away matches” and states that dialogue with supporter groups should be intensified. However, there is no mention of cost reduction on tickets.
8. Financial boost for women’s football
It’s unclear whether the European breakaway will have a similar set-up for the women’s game. Instead, A22 says “funding should be significantly expanded beyond existing contributions from European women’s club competitions”.
9. Promote bottom-up financing
A minimum of €400m a year would be paid into grassroots football, which according to A22 is “more than double the contribution of current European club competitions”.
10. Align the escape with the EU
With its clear commitment to the EU, the A22 is perhaps resigned to launching without the involvement of English clubs. “Stakeholders must embrace the EU’s values, laws and fundamental freedoms,” says the group.