Archive for the ‘European Super League’ Category

European Super League founder and Juventus president Andrea Agnelli says the competition’s future is untenable after its six English clubs withdrew on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan have since joined the Premier League sextet in bowing out of the Super League, leaving AC MilanBarcelonaJuventus, and Real Madrid as the only clubs yet to officially leave the controversial breakaway showpiece.

Agnelli was asked whether the Super League project could continue after the mass exodus from squads in England.

“To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case,” he told Reuters on Wednesday.

Juventus and Milan have both released statements acknowledging the slim chances of the Super League proceeding.

Agnelli’s outlook reflects a rapid climb down for the Super League and its stance on Tuesday night, when it reaffirmed its commitment to staging the competition, even after the English clubs pulled out.

“… We shall reconsider the most appropriate steps to reshape the project, always having in mind our goals of offering fans the best experience possible while enhancing solidarity payments for the entire football community,” the Super League’s statement read.

But Agnelli remains a keen backer of the Super League structure.

“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project,” Agnelli said, stating it would’ve been the best competition in the world.

“But admittedly … I mean, I don’t think that that project is now still up and running,” he added.

The Super League has crumbled as quickly as it arose.

Amid a furious backlash, all six English clubs decided to leave the ESL just days after revealing their intention to join the competition.

Manchester City led the way Tuesday, announcing they “formally enacted the procedures” to withdraw hours before ArsenalTottenham HotspurLiverpoolManchester United, and Chelsea made their exits official.

Arsenal are the only club thus far to offer an official apology to their fans.

AC Milan are also pulling out of the breakaway venture, according to The Athletic’s David OrnsteinAtletico Madrid and Barcelona are believed to be out, as well, according to The Times’ Matt Lawton, though there are conflicting reports about the Spanish teams’ stance.

In the wake of the mass exodus, the Super League said it would “reconsider” the project.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said he regrets “the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal” but felt “it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability.”

Real MadridJuventus, and Inter Milan would be the only remaining founding members of the Super League. It’s unclear if they will also withdraw, though it now seems inevitable.

Amid the chaos of the apparently failed tournament, beleaguered Manchester United executive Ed Woodward reportedly resigned.

“I am delighted to welcome City back to the European football family,” said UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who earlier in the day encouraged the teams to admit their mistake and change course. “They have shown great intelligence in listening to the many voices – most notably their fans – that have spelled out the vital benefits that the current system has for the whole of European football.”

Response to the Super League has been scathing since plans were announced on Sunday, with fans, players, coaches, national governments, and, of course, the sport’s governing bodies condemning the idea of a closed event. UEFA blasted the so-called “dirty dozen,” threatening sanctions, including banning players from the World Cup.

Over 1,000 fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge on Tuesday to protest the proposed league, which was met with widespread derision when 12 of the continent’s richest teams pledged to band together.

Less than two hours after the protests began, reports started filtering in that the Blues were pulling out of the competition.

Europe’s biggest sides engineered the planned 20-team event to guarantee a consistent and massive revenue stream. The 12 founding members had agreed to share an initial pot worth €3.5 billion.

The Super League was viewed as a Champions League replacement, with teams hoping to continue competing in domestic competitions. But the concept of a closed league, in which 15 clubs would be permanent members, was lambasted.

Fans protested in the streets, players and managers spoke out, and, ultimately, it appears that was enough to derail a plan that top clubs have long held over UEFA as leverage.

Bayern Munich flatly rejected the idea, while Paris Saint-Germain refused to offer support.

“It’s not a sport when the relation between effort and reward doesn’t exist,” Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Tuesday, echoing one of the most prominent complaints about the idea.

Twelve of Europe’s biggest and richest clubs have agreed to form a breakaway league, dubbed the “Super League,” that threatens to derail the longstanding structures of the sport.

After widespread reports about the formation of the 20-team competition, the dozen founding members confirmed their involvement Sunday evening.

ArsenalChelseaLiverpoolManchester CityManchester UnitedTottenham HotspurAtletico MadridBarcelonaReal MadridAC MilanInter Milan, and Juventus are the clubs that have agreed to participate.

Three additional teams are expected to join ahead of the inaugural season, the Super League said, adding that the competition will begin as “soon as practicable.”

The remaining five teams would vary each season based on performance.

“The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues,” read a Super League statement. “These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs.”

The founding clubs will receive a one-time payment of €3.5 billion.

Investment bank JP Morgan is underwriting the project, sources told Mark Ogden of ESPN.

The move threatens the existence of the Champions League, Europe’s premier club event. The Super League’s proposal notes that matches will take place in the middle of the week, a slot the Champions League currently occupies.

In response to Sunday’s development, which Martyn Ziegler and Matt Lawton of The Times first reported, UEFA reiterated its stance that clubs and players involved in any breakaway competition will face serious sanctions.

UEFA issued a joint statement with the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and the football federations in Spain and Italy, saying that the groups remain “united in our efforts to stop this cynical project.”

“Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way,” read the statement. “As previously announced by FIFA and the six federations, 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.”

Though UEFA explicitly thanked German and French teams for refusing to sign up for the breakaway competition, two Bundesliga sides and one Ligue 1 outfit will be among the initial participants, according to Ogden.

The potential creation of a Super League has long hung over European football, with top clubs using the possibility of the competition to squeeze more money and control out of UEFA.

Sunday’s news comes after the European Club Association and UEFA reportedly agreed on a plan to revamp the Champions League. UEFA is expected to announce Monday a new 36-team format – a style that would give major clubs a larger share of revenue generated.

Juventus quit the ECA in the immediate aftermath of the Super League plans going public, reports Rob Harris of The Associated Press. Club chairman Andrea Agnelli, who had been heavily involved in talks regarding a revamped Champions League, also resigned as ECA chairman and relinquished his position on UEFA’s executive committee.

Agnelli is the vice president of the Super League, along with Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer. Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez is the president.

The other 11 founding Super League clubs are expected to follow suit and leave the ECA.

The teams said they want to continue competing in domestic leagues, while a corresponding women’s league will also be created, the Super League noted.