The launch of a European Super League in the style of the NBA, with gigantic income for the 20 participating clubs, including 15 founders who would always remain among those chosen without the possibility of relegation, would mean a revolution in world football that today today that leaves many questions in the air.
Who are the dissidents?
By now, twelve European clubs have signed out of the current UEFA system. They are six English (Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea), three Spanish (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético de Madrid) and three Italians (Juventus, Inter Milan, Milan). Another three clubs are called to integrate the list of 15 clubs considered ‘founders’, according to a statement from the new organization, whose first president is Florentino Pérez, Real Madrid’s top leader. No French or German club is officially part of that list for now, although Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain would have been invited. Five ranked teams will be added each season through a merit system yet to be determined.
Each season, the twenty clubs will be divided into two groups of ten teams and will play, starting in August, matches to cover 18 rounds in the first phase. The three winners of each group will access the quarterfinals. The last two tickets for that round will be distributed to the knockout winners between the fourth and fifth of each group. As in the Champions League, the quarterfinals and semi-finals will be roundtrip, while the final will be a single match. The matches will take place in the middle of the week, which would be in opposition to other continental club competitions such as the Champions League or the Europa League, organized by UEFA.
How much would the founders charge?
To fulfill its objective of “generating additional resources for the entire football pyramid”, the European Super League has started above all by promising resources to its clubs. An item of 3,500 million euros will be distributed among the fifteen founders, with financing from the US investment fund JP Morgan. In the longer term, revenues “will exceed 10,000 million euros”, estimate those responsible for the Superliga. Participating clubs will commit to having a “regulated spending framework.”
When would the Super League start?
Although the organizers assure that the megaproject sponsored by Florentino Pérez would see the light as such as soon as possible, in reality it could not begin for two seasons. For the coming year, the current Champions League system is still in force, with the television contracts and others already signed. And there is not even a body of arbitrators prepared to also split from the current model.
Who would televise it?
The big question mark for the coming months refers to the amount promised by the future broadcasters of the competition in an economic context of adjustment of television rights. No agreement has been discussed in this regard, nor is there a date for an eventual process in this regard. The streaming platform DAZN would be very interested but, for now, the company of tycoon Len Blavatnik has not committed to anything, nor has it publicly shown its desire to enter into negotiations.
Are national competitions dangerous?
UEFA assures that it will adopt all judicial and sports measures to prevent the revolution from consuming itself. It considers that football is based on open competitions and sporting merit and, as announced by FIFA and the six Confederations, separatist clubs will not be able to participate in any other competition at national, European or world level, and their players could be deprived of the opportunity to represent their national teams. Threats impossible to fulfill because it would mean the end of national competitions and UEFA itself would stick a foot in the competitions it organizes. A next edition of the Champions League is unthinkable without Barça or Real Madrid or a European Championship without the figures of the big clubs.
What about the selections?
There is more consensus among the clubs on the need to globally reform the calendar to prevent the so-called FIFA virus. Teams pay players millions and are sick of giving them up to play three bowls in a row with their national teams and then arrive injured. The newly opened war also includes restructuring the calendar of the national teams without ending the qualifying phases, which could be grouped in less time, or the major championships.
What role is FIFA playing in the conflict?
The body chaired by Gianni Infantino, UEFA’s traditional rival ultimately also for economic reasons, is closer to the clubs, whom it has to pamper to take care of its Mundialito, but is obliged to react against this war and play a mediator role. FIFA, which at the moment would not see the participation of its stars in the World Cups compromised, plays a role in football comparable in other areas to that of the International Olympic Committee or the United Nations.
What does the European Union say?
The project of a Super League launched by a group of clubs is “contrary to the values of the European Union such as diversity and inclusion,” said the Commissioner for Lifestyle, Margaritis Schinas on Monday. “We must defend a sports model based on values,” said Schinas. In his opinion, “there is no space” to reserve the model “for the few rich clubs that want to cut ties with everything that the associations defend.” Among those essential aspects, he mentioned “national leagues, promotion and relegation, and support for grassroots amateur football.”
Is there a solution to the conflict?
All the answers to the previous questions lead to a conclusion. To this day, it seems unfeasible to end national competitions and put international teams at risk. Unlike basketball, where there is a private Euroleague with the continent’s greats and a highly devalued FIBA Champions League, in football it is unfeasible to think of a parallel Super League and Champions League. Many months of extremely tough negotiations are foreseen, but everything indicates that this is the germ of a new competition, in the same way that the current model replaced the old European Cup in 1992. There will be a new distribution of the television partel and, in the end As in almost all areas of society, the rich will be richer and the poor poorer.
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