The Super League being lit by 12 of the most important clubs in Europe, among which are Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético, the consequences of the disruptive initiative outside UEFA pose a multidimensional threat that points to the foundations of the traditional structures, national leagues and the distribution of income generated by the soccer industry. The weakening of UEFA as an organizer and distributor of the wealth generated by European competitions will be notable and heralds a tough legal battle against which the rogue clubs have already protected themselves. As EL PAÍS has learned, both UEFA and FIFA have received letters from the members of the Superliga in which they warn that they have already presented precautionary demands regarding the measures that these organizations may take to prevent the project from going ahead. The teams in the new competition intend to continue contesting the national leagues and European competitions until their project goes ahead. The 2022-23 season is the goal for the groundbreaking competition to start.
“It cannot be that third parties use our rights, our assets and show their brands to achieve their objectives. Meanwhile, we are invited without the right to open our mouths ”, exposes a founding leader of the Super League. The 12 breakthrough clubs cry out against the commercial monopoly that according to them UEFA exercises with assets that they consider their own. Every time a Champions League or Europa League match is played, participants are forced to dispense with their sponsors on video scoreboards, panels and billboards. A document that was shown to LaLiga clubs and high-level Spanish sports authorities to which this newspaper has had access reflects that the founders of the Superliga reserve the exploitation of certain rights in their own right apps and digital platforms.
The foundational bases of the project describe a holding company of companies based in Spain, for management and competition, and in the Netherlands for the sale of television rights. The economic sustainability of the project would be supervised by a financial control body with sanctioning power. This authority would ensure that participants met certain requirements. For example, clubs could not exceed 55% of their budget between player and coaching staff salaries, transfers and commissions to agents and, in addition, members must accumulate at least three years of earnings before taxes. The founding starting clubs would distribute 3.525 million euros for investments in sports infrastructures financed by investors. These funds may also be used to alleviate the effects of the coronavirus crisis. The US bank JP Morgan has already announced that it will be one of the funders.
The distribution of those 3,525 million euros, if there are finally 15 founders (12 plus the three guests) would be like this: 350 million euros for six clubs, 225 for four, 112.5 for two and 100 for three clubs, divided into according to an internal system not subject to the classification of each year. Television revenues are estimated at about 4,000 million euros, of which 264 would go towards the return of investor financing for 23 years. In other words, the great economic pie would exceed 7,000 million euros per season. The creation of a solidarity fund for leagues, federations and clubs is also planned, which would surpass that of UEFA, but controlled by the members of the Superliga. This nuance breaks the system by which historically the presidents of both UEFA and FIFA fed their elections and their mandates. Not only the current financial ecosystem of football is in check, also that of its representation.
The creation of the Super League and the enrichment of the rebel clubs would significantly reduce domestic competitions. The losses of LaLiga due to the reduction in audiovisual rights, sponsorships, ticketing and fertilizers is estimated at about 1,800 million euros. Due to the almost closed nature of the Super League, the 12 founders (six English, three Spanish and three Italians), plus another three that could be added to that condition, would not be relegated. There would only be five free spots each year, which detracts from the leagues.
One of the biggest obstacles the Super League is going to encounter is the rejection it generates among the fans. Domestic leagues will no longer serve to give more modest clubs a chance to take on the big boys in European competition. This goes against one of the foundations that made football great throughout its history: the possibility that the little one defeats the big one. Fan demonstrations are planned throughout Europe. Liverpool’s men have already opened fire and supporters of more Super League teams are expected to join the protests.
The fit of the calendar will also be complex and it is the trick that leagues and federations intend to play to torpedo the project. The Super League is projected to start in mid-August and to be played during the week, except for the final. The new Club World Cup project organized by FIFA also appears in the background, with 24 participants and with 2023 as a possible start date. The first five of each group of the Super League would attend him and the sixth and seventh would play a tie to complete the 12 European representatives. Until now, the international calendar is managed by FIFA in coordination with its six confederations. The body chaired by the Swiss Gianni Infantino will have to make a bobbin lace almost impossible if the teams in domestic leagues and national team matches are not reduced.
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