More than 12 clubs from England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain are in talks to be founder members of a new competition that would replace the Champions League, sources told BBC Sport’s Simon Stone.
Wall Street bank MP Morgan, Liverpool, and Manchester United are discussing the creation of an 18-team “European Premier League” that will cost $6 billion (£4.6 billion), according to Sky News’ Mark Kleinman.
Football’s world governing body, FIFA, is also believed to be assisting with the development of the new competition. Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly been approached about the idea, along with other unnamed clubs from the continent.
It’s understood the format would involve Europe’s biggest clubs competing in a single league, with teams facing each other at home and away before the overall winner is determined through a playoff system. European giants, such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, would stand to earn sums well into nine figures for joining, Kleinman reports.
There’s still a “long way to go” for the project and it “may not happen,” sources told Stone. ESPN’s Dale Johnson believes the European Premier League “could be doomed to failure,” as it would presumably fail to draw crucial support from UEFA – which apparently knew nothing of the potential competition before Tuesday’s reports – and the associations that oversee domestic leagues.
“The authors of this idea, if they really exist because there is nobody actually defending it, not only show total ignorance of the organization and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets,” La Liga president Javier Tebas told ESPN.
“A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organizers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they’re never official,” he continued. “These ‘underground’ projects only look good when drafted at a bar at 5:00 in the morning.”
Liverpool and Manchester United were notably behind the recent proposal named “Project Big Picture,” which Premier League clubs voted down last Wednesday.
The suggested reforms included an immediate £250-million rescue package being handed to English clubs in tiers two through four, a greater cut of Premier League income dropping into the English Football League, and “special voting rights” for Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and the three other longest-serving top-flight clubs (currently Everton, Southampton, and West Ham United).
“The latest reports of plots, allegedly involving Manchester United and Liverpool, to create a European Super League, expose the myth that billionaire owners care about the English football pyramid, or indeed anything other than their own greed,” said Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, via BBC Sport.
“This has to be the last nail in the coffin of the idea that football can be relied upon to regulate itself,” he continued.
Miles was referring to recent calls for an independent regulator. Ex-Manchester United defender Gary Neville is part of an eight-person group that created “Manifesto for Change,” which has demanded a new regulatory body for English football that’s independent of its current structure. The group has also called for other conditions, such as a better distribution of income throughout the country’s game and a stronger relationship with supporters’ organizations.