Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among the 12 clubs that have agreed to join the new European Super League (ESL).
In the seismic move for European football, Premier League clubs will join Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to establish a “new mid-week competition” with teams continuing to “compete in their national leagues”.
The inaugural season is said to “intend to start as soon as possible” and “it is predicted that three more clubs will join” the secession.
ESL’s plans also include launching an appropriate women’s competition as soon as possible after the start of the men’s tournament.
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, Uefa and the Premier League condemned the move to launch the European Super League when news of it was announced on Sunday.
The Fifa World Governing Body has previously stated that it will not recognize such a competition and any players who have participated in it could be denied the opportunity to play in the World Cup.
Uefa reiterated this warning on Sunday, saying that the players involved will be banned from any other competition at the domestic, European or world level and that they may be prevented from representing their national teams.
Following the announcement of the Super League, FIFA expressed “disapproval” of the proposed competition and called on “all parties involved in heated debates to engage in a peaceful, constructive and balanced dialogue for the benefit of the game.”
In a statement, ESL said: “In the future, the founding clubs look forward to holding talks with Uefa and FIFA to work together in partnership to achieve the best outcomes for the new league and for football as a whole.”
There was talk in October of a new £ 4.6 billion competition that would include replacing the Champions League.
Uefa hoped that plans for a new Champions League with 36 teams would start forming the Super League. Champions League reforms are due to be confirmed on Monday.
However, the 12 sides involved in the Super League do not think the reforms go far enough.
They said the global pandemic had “accelerated instability in the existing European football economic model”.
“In recent months, there has been an extensive dialogue with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions,” they added.
“The founding clubs believe that the solutions proposed after these talks do not address fundamental issues, including the need to provide better quality matches and additional funding for the overall football pyramid.”
What is the proposed format?
The league will have 20 teams – 12 founding members, plus three unnamed clubs that are expected soon and five parties that qualify annually according to their domestic achievements.
It will start in August, with a mid-week schedule, and the clubs will be divided into two groups of 10 members each playing at home and away.
The top three from each group advance to the quarterfinals, and the teams in the fourth and fifth play a duel for the remaining two places.
They will then have the same two-legged knockout format used in the Champions League before the unilateral final in May in a neutral spot.
In financial terms, ESL predicts that the “long-term commitment to unlimited solidarity payments” of the new competition will be “significantly higher than those generated by current European competition, and is expected to exceed 10 billion euros (8.65 billion pounds) during the initial period club engagement “.
There will be a spending framework for the founders, who will receive “3.5 billion euros (£ 3 billion) just to support their infrastructure investment plans and mitigate the impact of the Covid pavidemic.”
What do Super League leaders say?
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is the first president of the ESL and says “we will help football at all levels”.
“Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and it is our responsibility as big clubs to respond to their wishes,” he added.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has resigned as Uefa’s executive board and as president of the European Club Association, which has pushed for planned Champions League reforms.
He said that 12 clubs “gathered at this critical moment, enabling the transformation of European competition, putting the game we love on a sustainable basis for the long-term future.”
Agnelli believes the new competition will provide “fans and amateur players with a regular stream of headlines that will feed their passion for the game, providing them with interesting role models.”
Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer will be vice-president of the Super League.
He said: “Gathering the world’s biggest clubs and players to play with each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, providing competition and world-class facilities and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”
What was the reaction?
Basically, the widespread condemnation of all those not included in the proposed league.
That opposition has gone to the highest level in some countries, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the plans will be “very harmful for football” and that the British government supports the authorities in sports “in action”.
French President Emmanuel Macron added that he “welcomes the position of French clubs to refuse to participate” in the European super league “which threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit”.
Within the game, Uefa issued a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Federation, La Liga and the Italian Football Federation, as well as with Serie A, saying they would “remain united” in trying to stop the secession, using both judicial and sports measures if necessary.
The European Club Association, which represents European clubs, also says it would “strongly oppose” the “closed superleague model”, while the Football Fans Association said the plans were “motivated by nothing but cynical greed”.
Television experts also said their opinion, and former Manchester United captain Gary Neville told Sky Sports that he was “absolutely disgusted” by the plans and suggested that clubs should be anchored, while former teammate Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport that the proposals would most to the detriment of the fans and that the fans are “not considered”.
The Bundesliga sides oppose the plans because the German model means that commercial investors cannot have more than a 49% stake in clubs, so fans have the majority of their voting rights.
Simon Stone, BBC Sport
If there was any long-standing doubt about the desire of these 12 clubs to launch their own competition, it was removed by their statement – reinforced by each of them through their own media platforms.
So many questions remain unanswered.
In principle, can they actually convey their plan given the strong resistance of Uefa and the leagues and associations of the countries concerned?
But other than that, who will the remaining three clubs be the 15 founding members? Will Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain, which support Qatar, eventually join because the alternative is impossible to figure out?
And how will they decide on the other five clubs?
These discussions will be fascinating. But they are not fundamental.
Currently, clubs are fighting a public relations battle to reverse perceptions – because as a drop of speculation turned into heavy news about something happening, followed by a confirmation statement, the reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
If they can’t formulate a credible plan and turn public opinion to their own, it will be a leap of faith to believe that only a famous football name can only sell a product.