Super League latest news: ESL’s new plan for football sparks anger and derision

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Plans for the European Super League have been relaunched with a new multi-divisional format in an effort to revive the thwarted competition.

The ESL was crushed by a fierce backlash across football when it was first mooted in April 2021 by its founding clubs, forcing embarrassing climbdowns from those involved, and it was eventually shut down in court. But the organisation set up to devise and promote the competition, A22, has now released new plans for a Super League based on “merit” rather than ringfenced financial gains for a few founding members.

The new-look competition would feature 60-80 teams across multiple divisions with promotion and relegation, rather than one league. The competition would be based on sporting performance only, with no permanent members, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart said in a presentation at a London hotel on Thursday morning, and teams would be guaranteed a minimum of 14 matches per season.

But there is fresh backlash from clubs, leagues and fans over the proposals, with Spanish La Liga president Javier Tebas describing the ESL as “the wolf disguised as the grandmother”, while the Football Supporters’ Association described the plans as “hot air”.

Follow all the latest news and reaction as the Super League relaunches its plans.


Controversial European Super League relaunches with new multi-division plan

A new-look, open European Super League could contain up to 80 teams in a multi-divisional format, the competition’s chief executive has said.

The competition would be based on sporting performance only with no permanent members, A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart told German newspaper Die Welt.

Teams would be guaranteed a minimum of 14 matches per season, Reichart wrote.

A22, a company formed to sponsor and assist with the creation of the Super League, has consulted with nearly 50 European clubs since October last year and developed 10 principles based on that consultation which underpin its plans for a new-look league.

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 10:18


‘Twitching of the corpse’: New expanded Super League plans criticised

Grand new plans for a revived European Super League have been dismissed as “the twitching of the corpse” by the chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

The organisation charged with devising and promoting the Super League, A22, has launched its radical new proposals, centring around plans for a 60-80 club competition across multiple divisions, which would operate in conjunction with existing national leagues such as the Premier League as well as Uefa competitions like the Champions League.

A22’s CEO, Bernd Reichart, presented his vision to the media at a London hotel on Thursday morning. Reichart claims to have involved nearly 50 European clubs and stakeholders in the discussions. But the feeling across the game remains deeply sceptical and the FSA says it was not directly consulted on the latest plans.

“It’s not going to happen,” the FSA’s chief executive, Kevin Miles, told The Independent. “This latest plan is just their way of reminding the world that they exist, they are still here. But it’s all hot air.”

Exclusive quotes from the FSA here:

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 11:35


Liverpool stand by anti-Super League stance

Sources at Liverpool have told the Liverpool Echo that their stance on the Super League remains unchanged from their September 2021 statement, when the club said: “Our involvement in the proposed ESL plans has been discontinued. We are absolutely committed to following that through and there should be no ambiguity to suggest otherwise.”

The organiser of the new Super League plans, A22, has yet to reveal which clubs, if any, back the proposals.

Lawrence Ostlere9 February 2023 11:26


Super League relaunch: 10 principles

There remains a startling lack of detail available over the Super League’s newly scrubbed reform plan, which features a list of 10 principles to govern their approach.

They say they have been formed after “consistent feedback” with clubs, though opted against saying which ones.

The 10 guiding princples are listed as:

  • Meritocratic competitions, with multi-divisional format and no permanent members
  • Clubs remain committed to domestic tournaments
  • Improve competitiveness with stable, sustainable resources
  • Player health at the centre of the game
  • Well-enforced and transparent financial sustainability rules
  • Create “the world’s best football competition”
  • Improved fan experience
  • Develop and finance women’s football by putting it “centre stage” side-by-side with men’s game
  • Significant increase in solidarity
  • Respect for EU laws and values

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 11:20


New expanded Super League plans criticised

Grand new plans for a revived European Super League have been dismissed as “the twitching of the corpse” by the chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).

Lawrence Ostlere9 February 2023 11:19


Football Supporters’ Association dismisses new Super League plans

The Independent has spoken to the Football Supporters’ Association this morning, who dismissed the Super League’s new plans as “hot air”.

“It’s not going to happen,” said the FSA’s chief executive, Kevin Miles. “This latest plan is just their way of reminding the world that they exist, they are still here. But it’s all hot air.”

The original Super League plans, involving 15 founding members including six English clubs who would have benefitted from ringfenced financial gains, was effectively killed off in court and there appears to be little momentum now for its revival.

“It’s the twitching of the corpse,” said Miles.

Lawrence Ostlere9 February 2023 11:08


LaLiga would be ‘bankrupt’ if Real Madrid and Barcelona join European Super League

LaLiga’s biggest two clubs were told late last year by finance group KPMG that moving to a European Super League would bankrupt Spain’s top flight.

The report estimated the league’s value – comprised of broadcast rights, sponsorship, season tickets and other ticketing – at 3.316 billion euros (£2.85bn) in the current season.

The existence of a Super League played in midweek would slash that value by 1.662 billion euro (£1.4bn) while if LaLiga was forced to become a midweek competition the impact is forecast to be even greater – with a reduction of 1.8billion euro (£1.5bn) – a drop of 55 per cent.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been warned he would bankrupt LaLiga and his own club if he pressed on with plans for a European Super League (Mike Egerton/PA)

(PA Archive)

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 11:05


Javier Tebas derides European Super League relaunch

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has hit out at the latest relaunch of the European Super League, depicting the organisation as a sly thief trying to steal influence and finance away from the heart of football.

Following the widespread condemnation by fans of the initial plans, most clubs involved in the 2019 launch quickly distanced themselves from the idea, many apologising in the process. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have remained the driving forces behind a renewed push, however.

Now the relaunch, which includes a minimum of 14 matches per team and features 10 principles of structure derived extensive consultation with clubs, is again purporting to stop “the foundations of European football […] collapsing.”

Tebas, though, is insistent that the group are far from the saviours of football and will instead remain self-serving – tweeting an image which showed a “Super League” wolf disguised as a grandmother and a faceless “Europe football” figure stylised as Little Red Riding Hood.

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 10:50


‘No detail’ on which clubs back new Super League proposals

Sky journalist Rob Harris has revealed that A22 – the group behind the European Super League – have refused to divulge which clubs back them with the new proposals.

The English clubs initially aligned with the ESL in 2019 quickly removed themselves from the conversation after outrage from supporters.

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 10:35


Uefa backed by European court in recent reading

As a reminder, Uefa and Fifa have both sought to stop the European Super League from being brought into being – while the company behind the ESL say the governing bodies are abusing their position of power under competition law.

In a significant moment for the future of European football, Advocate General Athanasios Rantos told the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in December that he backed Uefa over their opposition to the Super League, after Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus brought forward a case accusing the governing body of running a “monopoly” over the sport.

The opinion comes as a major victory for Uefa ahead of the final ruling next year and, though the opinion is non-binding, it appears to end any hopes clubs pushing for a European Super League had of competing in a breakaway competition while still retaining their places in domestic leagues.

More here from that ruling:

Karl Matchett9 February 2023 10:25

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