On Sunday afternoon, a bombshell shocked the football world.
Reports emerged that plans for a European Super League were set to be announced - a plan that included six Premier League clubs.
It didn't take long for the likes of the UEFA and the Premier League to react as they released extremely strong statements condemning the plans.
On Sunday evening, a long-awaited statement was revealed.
"Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.
Check out the official website - HERE.
Is the European Super League about to collapse?
The future of the European Super League appears to be in doubt less than 48 hours after it was officially announced after all six Premier League clubs announced they were pulling out.
Fans protested outside Stamford Bridge ahead of Chelsea's Premier League clash with Brighton and while it's unclear whether that was the decisive factor, it has coincided with news of City's withdrawal and the Blues' intention to follow suit. The rest of the 'Big Six' had released statements by Tuesday night.
At the same time, Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward has resigned from his post - the assumption being that he's stepped down over the issue of the seemingly dying ESL.
What was the European Super League?
It was the intention for it to rival the Champions League format ahead of the competition’s announcement of their new plans. However, UEFA and the domestic leagues may ban clubs from competing in their competitions if they follow through with their plans.
There will be 18 to 20 sides and matches will be played midweek with an end of season play-off to determine the winners and it's believed it could start as early as August.
According to The Times, the proposals include:
- The 15 founder clubs sharing an initial 3.5billion (£3.1billion) euro “infrastructure grant” ranging from £310million to £89million per club which can be spent on stadiums, training facilities or “to replace lost stadium-related revenues due to Covid-19”.
- The format would see two groups of 10 clubs who play home and away, with the top four from each group going through to two-legged quarter-finals, semi-finals and a one-legged final.
- Matches would be midweek and clubs would still play in domestic leagues
- Clubs would have rights to show four matches a season on their own the digital platforms across the world
- Income from TV and sponsorship would favour the founding clubs: 32.5% of the pot would be shared equally between the 15 clubs, and another 32.5% between all Super League clubs including the five qualifiers
- 20% of the pot would be merit money “distributed in the same manner as the current English Premier League merit-based system” according to where clubs finish in the competition or group if they don’t make the knock-out stage
- The remaining 15% would get a “commercial share based on club awareness”
- A cap of 55% of revenues permitted to be spent on salaries and transfers (net)
- A ‘Financial Sustainability Group’ would monitor clubs’ spending
Which clubs were involved?
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were the six Premier League clubs involved originally, however the English clubs have now withdrawn.
La Liga's Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid and Serie A's AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus had also signed up.
Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have rejected the proposals.
What’s been the reaction?
It’s fair to say the majority of people involved in football aren’t too keen on the idea. Perhaps the best reaction came from Gary Neville on Sunday who went on an incredible rant about the involvement of the English clubs.
What have UEFA said?
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
“The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
That was confirmed by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who said: ""The players that will play in the closed league will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros. They will not be allowed play for their national teams."
What has Florentino Perez said?
Perez has been appointed chairman of the Super League and gave an interview revealing all the details.
He claimed that it's been designed to "save football" because of the financial situation in the sport and the biggest clubs being in danger. He assured that players and club won't be banned from competing in other competitions.
What has the Premier League said?
“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.”
What happens to domestic leagues?
Well, the plan was just to replace the existing Champions League but, with UEFA insisting that clubs will be “banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level” then it seems they would have to drop out of their respective leagues.
What happens to the Champions League?
The European Super League would effectively end the Champions League - hence UEFA's aggressive statement.
What happens now?
The ESL concept appears to be dead in the water after the six English clubs removed themselves from the process. While these plans may be over, there's no doubt that some of Europe's biggest clubs want change and will challenge UEFA.