European Super League statement finally released as details of format emerge

Plans for the European Super League has finally been revealed.

A statement came late on Sunday night confirming that 12 European clubs want to establish a new mid-week competition.

Manchester United, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Juventus, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have all joined as founding clubs.

These 12 clubs have all officially left the European Club Association.

Three more clubs are expected to join, although these have not been named, with the competition planned to take place as soon as possible.

The founding clubs will get a share of £3billion to support their investment plans and "to offset the impact" of the pandemic.

They say they are now looking forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work on the proposal.

Following the announcement, UEFA said: "The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other domestic competition, European or International level, and the players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams."

FIFA added: "[We] can only express disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures."

Sunday's Super League statement revealed the format for the competition.

Competition Format

  • 20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
  • Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.
  • An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions. A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

The founding clubs say 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."

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, the first Chairman of the Super League, said: "We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world.

"Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires."

Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus and vice-chairman of the Super League, said: "Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies.

"We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models."

And finally, Joel Glazer, Co-Chairman of Man United and vice-chairman of the Super League said: "By bringing together the world's greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid."

The proposal was this Sunday met with staunch opposition from the Premier League, The FA, The ECA, FIFA, UEFA and even the UK Government.

The ECA held an emergency meeting on Sunday night to discuss the proposal.

Agnelli, who is ECA president, and who has resigned from the UEFA Executive Committee, was not in attendance.

In a statement, the ECA said it "strongly opposed" the proposal and made clear the group's desire to continue to work with UEFA on a new-look Champions League.

It read: "In light of today's reports on the subject of a so-called breakaway league, ECA as the body representing 246 leading clubs across Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to working on developing the UEFA club competitions (UCCs) model with UEFA for the cycle beginning 2024 and that a 'closed super league model' to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by ECA.

"ECA would refer to the position adopted by its Executive Board at its meeting last Friday 16th April, namely that it supports a commitment to work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European Club Football as a whole post-2024.

"With ECA's support, UEFA's Executive Committee is being asked to endorse these commitments at its meeting on 19th April along with pursuing efforts to reach an agreement on the future relationship between ECA and UEFA.

"The ECA Executive Board will be convening over the coming days to take appropriate decisions in light of any further developments."

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