The concept of the European Super League has not been well received by fans when it first came about in April 2021. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain were against the notion, but twelve teams (Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea FC, Arsenal FC, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid) decided to go with it; the founding members of the original ESL. Public outcry from the fans, however, led to everyone pulling out apart from Real, Barca, and Juve. But now it’s back, and it appears that it will have 80(!) teams in it.
A report on ESPN said that A22 Sports Management, a company founded specifically to fund and support the breakaway league, and its chief executive Bernd Reichart is the mastermind of the rebooted Super League. A statement by the company said that it had talks with 50 European clubs and football stakeholders and decided that change was necessary.
“The vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change,” the statement said. “Feedback suggests a European football league that is open, based solely on sporting merit, multidivisional with 60-80 clubs and a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches per club.”
Reichart said that the reason for the relaunch of the ESL is for a sustainable sporting project available to at least the European Union members. “Our objective is to present a sustainable sporting project for European club competitions available to, at a minimum, all 27 EU Member States as soon as possible after receipt of the judgment,” Reichart said. “The issues are clear, and action must be taken for the benefit of fans, players, and clubs.” A22 said there were 10 principles that emerged from the discussions, including improving competitiveness, financial sustainability, and fan experience.
UEFA, who are vehement critics of the ESL, declined to give a comment but La Liga issued a statement on the matter saying that clubs should not fall victim to such schemes. “We are aware that A22, the Super League promoters, are pushing a story today presenting a manifesto with ten ‘principles.’ Our response: Don’t let them fool you. They’ve been telling tales for many years, this is just the latest attempt by big clubs to hijack European football.”
Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, said the plan would favor only big clubs, insinuating that it is a trap. “The Super League is the wolf, who today disguises himself as a granny to try to fool European football, but his nose and his teeth are very big,” the Spaniard tweeted. “Four divisions in Europe? Of course, the first for them, as in the 2019 reform. Government of the clubs? Of course, only the big ones.”
Apparently, the European Club Association already rejected A22’s plan for the ESL as far back as 2019, adding that “as the sole organization recognized by FIFA and UEFA representing clubs at European and international level, and the only body through which clubs have genuine representation in their decision-making, ECA reiterates its long-standing opposition to the European Super League and any breakaway project. From 2024, more clubs from more countries will participate in European men’s club competitions every season.”
The issue in the ongoing court case is whether the statutes of UEFA and global governing body FIFA, which allows them to block rival events and bar clubs and players from taking part, conform with EU competition rules.
What do you think of an 80-team European Super League? Is it any worse than the original proposal two years ago? Are you for or against the current proposal? Let us know in the comments!