Talk of a European ‘Super League’ involving the world’s richest clubs, including many from the Premier League, has rumbled on without coming to fruition for two decades.
The exact format and time line for such a competition has varied; last year, the German magazine Der Spiegel published confidential documents and emails alleging Real Madrid were working with consultants on a breakaway 16-team Super League to kick off in 2021.
This would have “effectively replaced the Champions League” and stood “outside the control of UEFA,” according to a report in The Telegraph .
However, UEFA nixed the proposal by later announcing new legislation to protect domestic top tiers until at least 2024.
Now the latest plans allegedly drawn up by “top clubs” to reshape the Champions League after this date under UEFA’s jurisdiction has been slammed for amounting to a ‘Super League,’ The Guardian reports.
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Described as a “closed shop…for the richest clubs to get even wealthier,” the proposal would reportedly see 24 top clubs given permanent participation in an expanded, lucrative Champions League.
Such a plan has been backed by the European Club Association (ECA), which is chaired by Juventus’ chairman, Andrea Agnelli.
Agnelli is also in favour of expanding the group phase of the competition, suggesting that domestic leagues could possibly be diminished to compensate, the newspaper says.
Criticism of the latest plans to The Guardian came from the president of Europe’s football leagues’ association, Lars-Christer Olsson, the head of the European Leagues that also includes the Premier League.
Olsson said such proposals were “motivated by greed,” and called on the body to instead improve “competitive balance” so that success was not so concentrated among rich clubs.
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“This ECA proposal will distort competitive balance in UEFA competitions and domestic competitions – making the gap between the rich clubs and the rest permanent, or even bigger,” Olsson claimed. “We’re calling for preserving the European model, not introducing the closed North American system.”
At the same time, the head of the European Leagues called for a fifth of Champions League revenues to be redistributed outside participating clubs and for Europe’s leagues to share money more equally, a move that he said would aid youth development for clubs.
“This [a Super League] is not a new proposal – it is very similar to the proposals made by the old G14 [top] clubs 20 years ago, for a breakaway Super League,” Olsson told The Guardian .
“But this is more dangerous because it is proposed under the auspices of UEFA.
“There has been huge opposition from our member leagues and clubs across Europe,” Olsson insisted, “from supporters and increasingly now from national associations, telling UEFA that this closed shop is a proposal for the richest clubs to get even wealthier.
“This is an attempt to form a super league, absolutely,” Olsson underlined.
In response to an informal ‘brainstorming’ session announced between the ECA and UEFA earlier this year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin expressed his desire “to find a way forward that meets the needs of the game across the whole of Europe, not just in the big markets.”