European Super League backers revealed today that they want to launch a new version of the project that collapsed two years ago: a multi-division competition of 60-80 teams with no permanent members, and a minimum 14 matches per club, per season.
The announcement was made in various European newspapers of A22, Madrid’s Super League (ESL) sister company, and timed to coincide with a further push by the three remaining rebels, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, to pursue their battle against UEFA. .
A22 claim the new project is the result of detailed conversations with clubs across Europe about the financial issues they are facing. Over the past few months, A22 and the ESL have focused their attacks on the Premier League’s wealth, its dominance in the transfer market and the effect this is having on other European leagues with less lucrative TV deals.
There are no details yet on how the original 60-80 teams would be formed or how they would drop out of 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 were from the Premier League: the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The format of the proposed new Super League has been kept under wraps by Real, Barcelona and Juventus, but even now there are still questions about how it might work – if it had ever been given the legal leeway . A22, as well as key backers like Real president Florentino Perez, have claimed in the past that there will be bigger solidarity payments for clubs that don’t take part in European competitions.
“Clubs bear entrepreneurial risk in football”
Writing in German newspaper Welt, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart continued the attack on UEFA, saying clubs have no say in how its competitions run. He said: “It is the clubs that bear the entrepreneurial risk in football. But when it comes to important decisions, they are too often forced to sit idly by, with the sporting and financial foundations under their control. Our discussions also made it clear that it is often impossible for clubs to make their voices heard publicly against a system that uses the threat of sanctions to prevent opposition.
Reichart made further statements on support for women’s football, support for domestic competitions, player health, financial sustainability rules and the fan experience. There are promises to pursue all of these issues, but no details on how much revenue will be generated to do so or who might run the ESL. In its first iteration in 2021, power was concentrated in the hands of Perez; Andrea Agnelli, the former president of Juventus; and Manchester United co-owner Joel Glazer.
It was the strongest clubs outside the rebel three who helped shape the new UEFA Champions League format after 2024 – the so-called ‘Swiss model’ which will feature 36 teams in a single division playing ten group stage matches instead of the current one. six. As for the richness of these competitions, UEFA and the powerful European Club Association, which represents clubs across Europe, are co-owners of a joint venture which controls all revenue from the Champions League, Europa League and the Europa Conference League.
The home European Super League has been dealt a blow before Christmas in its long-running lawsuit with UEFA at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Advocate General Athanasios Rantos’ opinion in court was strongly in favor of the UEFA monopoly.
The opinion of the Advocate General is not binding on the judges of the ECJ but, in most cases, it is followed. It concluded that EU competition law was consistent with the restraints that UEFA and Fifa asserted over football power and “proportionate” to achieve UEFA’s “legitimate objectives” in accordance with EU sports policy.