Fifteen of the largest European clubs are in talks to found a European Super League, which should start in time for the 2023/24 season. The project is backed by a $ 6 billion (£ 4.3 billion) fund, sources told ESPN.
If the initiative succeeds, it would jeopardize the very existence of the Champions League – the biggest club competition in football – with UEFA as a new 36-man format for the tournament is announced on Monday to fend off attempts by the top clubs in the game breaking out.
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According to The Times, England’s top clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are among the 11 European teams that have joined the Super League plan.
ESPN has been told by someone familiar with the blueprint that the proposed framework involves a total of 20 teams of 15 permanent members who cannot be relegated.
Another five teams will be switched to and from the competition depending on their performance. However, the permanent members include six Premier League clubs, three from La Liga, three from Italian Serie A, two from the Bundesliga and one from French Ligue 1.
Sources have told ESPN that New York-based investment bank JP Morgan will sign the project with a $ 6 billion loan to the teams.
Manchester United and Liverpool are among the clubs interested in a European Super League. Photo by Ash Donelon / Manchester United via Getty Images
Under pressure from the European Club Association, UEFA has drawn up plans to redesign the Champions League format. The new look competition is due to be unveiled on Monday before the UEFA Executive Committee summit in Switzerland this week.
The redesigned Champions League is due to come into force in 2024 and 36 teams include 10 instead of six group games. The largest clubs would also receive an increased share of prize money.
Sources told ESPN that UEFA plans to move ahead with its announcement on Monday and that any breakaway league remains a distant prospect as national associations UEFA and FIFA both have to approve the proposal.
Meanwhile, Serie A convened an emergency committee meeting on Sunday to discuss a newspaper report showing broadcaster DAZN involved in new plans for the runaway league, a source told Reuters.
The meeting was convened by league president Paolo Dal Pino, and the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport reported that DAZN, owned by billionaire Len Blavatniks Access Industries, has been working on the formation of the league for some time.
According to the report, the meeting will be attended remotely with the three Serie A clubs that could potentially be part of the new project: Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
It’s been a tumultuous week for Serie A after seven clubs wrote to Dal Pino to resign over issues including managing plans to sell a stake in the league’s media business.
The plans to expand the Champions League are also likely to meet with resistance from supporters. ESPN reported last week that fan groups have already registered their anger over the changes proposed by UEFA.
Information from Reuters has also been included in this report.