European Super League organizers propose new soccer competition


Nearly two years after the collapse of the European Super League, the breakaway soccer tournament that sparked widespread reproach in 2021 before its brisk demise, the tournament’s organizers have proposed a new European soccer competition that may include as many as 80 teams. A22 Sports Management, the company tasked with sponsoring and assisting the creation of the prospective Super League, said it should feature no permanent members and that membership would be based on domestic performance.

A22 conducted a months-long review during which the company said chief executive Bernd Reichart spoke to nearly 50 European clubs and stakeholders and found “the vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change.

“Clubs bear all entrepreneurial risks but too often are forced to sit on the side-lines when key decisions are made, and they are watching their sporting and financial foundations crumble,” Reichart said in a statement. “Our discussions have made clear clubs are often unable to publicly speak up against a system where the threat of sanctions is used to stifle opposition. Our dialogue has been honest, direct, and fruitful. There are clear conclusions about the need for change and the building blocks of how to achieve it.”

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Outlining its suggestions for the prospective league, A22 said it should be “open, multi-divisional competition with 60 to 80 teams, allowing for sustainable distribution of revenues across the pyramid. Participation should be based on annual sporting merit and there should be no permanent members. Open qualification based on domestic performance would grant rising clubs access to the competition while maintaining competitive dynamics at domestic level.”

A22 said clubs should continue to participate in domestic competition, and that the league, focused on continental competition, should increase competitiveness and financial sustainability through at least 14 guaranteed European matches each season.

Those recommendations come almost two years after 12 clubs announced a breakaway Super League in April 2021, intending to challenge European soccer’s long-established top club competition, the UEFA Champions League.

Those teams claimed the new league would provide “support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid” even though it would be closed to nearly all of its teams. Their announcements were met with swift rebukes from fans, former players and governments, and within 48 hours, the project collapsed after Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid pulled out. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus remained as holdouts.

The Super League continues to await a European court’s decision as to whether UEFA and FIFA can bar clubs and players from taking part in the Super League or ban them from taking part in national team matches. That decision may shape the future of such a tournament.

“Our objective is to present a sustainable sporting project for European club competitions available to, at a minimum, all 27 E.U. Member States as soon as possible after receipt of the judgment,” Reichart said. “The issues are clear, and action must be taken for the benefit of fans, players, and clubs.”

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