LONDON – A group of the world’s wealthiest and most storied soccer clubs have agreed in principle to plan a breakaway European club competition that, if it comes to fruition, structures, economics and relationships To increase that force global football. Century.
After months of secret negotiations, the Golmaal team – which includes Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain; Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in England; And AC Milan in Juventus and Italy – according to many people familiar with the plans, may announce the start of Sunday.
The so-called Super League they have agreed to – a coalition of top clubs closer in concept to closed leagues like the NFL and NBA than the current model of football – will bring about the most significant restructuring of elite European football since the 1950s , And the Herald’s largest transfer of funds to a small group of teams in modern sports history.
In its current form, European football domestic league play – an English league for English teams, a Spanish league for Spanish clubs – with continental competitions. The most prestigious of them all, the Champions League, brings together the top teams from each domestic league each year to play for the title of Europe, and is arguably the best club in the world.
The establishment of the funnel currently sponsors the multi-million dollar annual televisions and revenues of the world’s richest clubs, supplementing their domestic revenues with funds from the Champions League. But the format also maintains smaller teams in each country, who benefit from the benefits of their matches with veterans and share money in teams that bring in from broadcasters.
The new Super League model will change, which will see the Champions League snatch away its most lucrative and most successful teams and effectively shut down the richest clubs in their own closed competition – and divide them into billions of dollars in annual revenue among themselves Will allow to do. According to estimates shared with potential clubs earlier this year, each team could earn more than $ 400 million just for participating – more than four times the Champions League winner took home In 2020.
At least 12 teams have signed up as founding members or expressed interest in joining Italy’s top division, including six from England’s Premier League and three from Spain’s top division, according to people with knowledge of the plans is.
European football officials hurried to try to block the plan. Premier League Condemned the concept In a statement and sent a letter to its 20 member clubs warning them not to participate, and its top officials and their counterparts in Spain and Italy held emergency board meetings on Sunday.
Officials of European football’s governing body, UEFA, which runs the Champions League, described the proposal for a closed Super League as a “whimsical project” co-authored by the Premier League, La Liga in Spain and Serie A of Italy – was signed. As well as the football associations of each country.
Within the hour, the Federation of France and the French League had added their voices Growing opposition Inside European Football.
But UEFA was also taking the threat seriously. Its leaders spent the weekend deliberating on how to block the plan, including prohibiting breakaway teams from their home leagues and preventing their players from competing for national teams in events such as the World Cup. European officials also reminded the breakaway clubs (and, effectively, their players) that football’s global governing body, FIFA, supported that threat of expulsion.
“We will consider all measures available to us at both the judicial and sporting levels to prevent this,” UEFA statement states. “Football is based on open competitions and sports qualification; It cannot be any other way. “
Nevertheless, football officials have started contacting MPs in the European Union, hoping that the bloc will be able to strengthen its hand in maintaining this position. Politicians in France and England indicated their opposition to the plans.
Teams committed to the Super League are currently limited to a dozen clubs in Spain, Italy and England. A group of six teams from the Premier League, United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham represent the largest group from one country. Atletico Madrid are the second team from Spain to be said to have supported the project, while Milan’s rival Internazionale and AC Milan will join Juventus as representatives of Italy.
Brexit group leaders are trying to get Germany’s Bayern Munich and other top teams like Borussia Dortmund and French champions Paris Saint-Germain. But to date those clubs – and others – have refused to stay away from domestic structures and continental competitions that have outstripped European football for generations.
For example, PSG has been invited to join it, but has so far opposed it. Its chairman, Nasser al-Khelai, sits on the UEFA board and is also the head of the media group, the Qatar-based television network, which has paid millions of dollars for the rights to broadcast games in the Champions League and various domestic competitions.
The New York Times contacted several clubs involved in the breakup plans but all declined to comment or provide any response. But the Premier League wrote to 20 of its clubs after a board meeting on Sunday, warning them that the league’s rules urged clubs to join outside competitions without acceptance and “walk away” from consideration.
“This venture cannot be launched without English clubs and we ask any club to run immediately before adding itself or joining this venture before irreparable damage occurs,” it said in a letter to the teams has gone.
The timing of Sunday’s news was made on Monday by UEFA’s plan to confirm a redesigned Champions League. That competition will end with the departure of its biggest teams.
The result of the split between European football and its best-known, best-kept and deepest pocket clubs would be embarrassing. Without the top teams, UEFA and domestic leagues would face demands for millions of dollars from broadcasters paying billions for television rights to broadcast their tournament. Clubs will have a severe setback on their budget, while many are still wrestling with the financial debris caused by the coronovirus epidemic. And any restrictions on playing the national team will affect the players personally, even if they have no role in the decision making.
The most notable teams included in the breakaway group are Juventus, the serial Italian champions. Its president, Andrea Agnelli, is a member of the executive board of UEFA. This year, when asked by The Times to discuss his role in a break league talks, he called the idea a “rumor”.
Nevertheless, according to documents reviewed by The Times in January, the Brexit League’s plans had intensified since last summer. Top clubs sought to create a new path to take advantage of the uncertainty in the football industry due to the epidemic, which would ensure a degree of financial stability for them, but would certainly lead to a significant – and devastating – loss of value. And revenue loss for teams excluded from the project.
Each of the permanent members of the proposed Super League will be promised 350 million euros, or $ 425 million, to sign up, The documents said. According to people familiar with the matter, the group consulted with JP Morgan Chase to raise financing for the project. The firm has so far declined to comment.
Under the proposals reviewed at the time, the Super League, which would play its matches in the middle of the week, sought to secure 16 top football teams as permanent members and add four qualifiers from home competitions. The clubs will be divided into two groups of 10, with the top four teams in each group qualifying for the knockout stages, culminating in a final that will take place over the weekend.
The weekend will be reserved for domestic league matches, as they are currently under the impression that those leagues will not comply with threats to expel their biggest teams.
Earlier this year, UEFA found a powerful ally in opposition to FIFA’s plans. FIFA warns Any player who has participated in such unprovoked leagues will be banned from participating in its events including the World Cup. The statement came after UEFA’s president, Alexander Seferin, sought support from his FIFA counterpart, Gianni Infantino, amid growing speculation that Brexit was in support of FIFA.
European football leaders hoodwinked over the telephone and video conference over the weekend for a retaliation. However, finding a solution to the potential pitfalls of the biggest brands in soccer is not an easy task. For example, the Premier League owes much of its loss – and almost certainly a lot of commercial appeal that has turned it into the richest league in football – should it go on to deport its top six teams.
As member-owned clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid will need the support of thousands of their supporters before they formally join, and whichever German club agrees to take part will face similar hurdles. All can expect heavy internal opposition; Fan groups across Europe have already protested since the details of plans for a Super League earlier this year.
An umbrella group, pro football Europe, considered the Super League “illegitimate, irresponsible and anti-competitive with design.”
“More to the point, it’s particularly motivated by greed,” the group said. “The only gainers are hedge funds, oligarchs and a handful of already wealthy clubs, many of whom perform poorly in their domestic leagues despite their inbuilt gains.”