ESL confirm new plans, eyes 80-club tournament

A future European Super League (ESL) could include as many as 80 teams, Bernd Reichart, the chief executive of A22 Sports Management, a company formed to sponsor and assist in the creation of the breakaway football league, said on Thursday.

In a statement outlining the preliminary results of talks that the company had with what it said was 50 European clubs and stakeholders of football, the company said change was necessary.

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“The vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change,” the statement said.

“Feedback suggests a European football league that is open, based solely on sporting merit, multidivisional with 60-80 clubs and a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches per club.”

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among 12 clubs to announce a breakaway Super League in April 2021. But the move collapsed within 48 hours after an outcry from fans, governments and players forced Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid to pull out.

That left only Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus as holdouts. The ESL took its case to a Spanish court which subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

“Our objective is to present a sustainable sporting project for European club competitions available to, at a minimum, all 27 EU 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.”

A22 said there were 10 principles that emerged from the discussions, including improving competitiveness, financial sustainability and fan experience.

LaLiga responded to the A22 proposal by saying: “We are aware that A22, the Super League promotors, are pushing a story today presenting a manifest with ten ‘principles.’ Our response: Don’t let them fool you. They’ve been telling tales for many years, this is just the latest attempt by big clubs to hijack European football.”

At issue in the ongoing court case is whether European body UEFA and global governing body FIFA statutes allowing them to block rival events and bar clubs and players from taking part conform with EU competition rules.

Information from ESPN’s Sam Marsden contributed to this report.


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