The proposed European Super League has shaken the foundations of European football and sparked almost universal outrage among fans, former players and politicians.
The league has been condemned by many within the soccer world, but also by the likes of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron.
What is it and what does it all mean?
The breakaway competition is being formed by an elite group of 12 soccer clubs: AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus JUVE, +0.33%, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham. Three more clubs are expected to join as founding members.
Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United MANU, -1.70% have U.S. owners: Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke; Fenway Sports Group; and the Glazer family. Joel Glazer and Kroenke are vice chairmen of the new league, along with Fenway Sports Group’s John Henry, serving under Florentino Pérez of Real Madrid, named as the organization’s first chairman.
The league is designed to be a midweek competition, comprising 20 clubs — 15 founding clubs and a further five entering the field each season through qualification. It would rival the current Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League, the continent’s premier club competition and one of the world’s most lucrative sporting events.
The 15 founding members would compete year in and year out in the Super League and could never be relegated, taking away an element of competition and qualification. Teams currently qualify for the Champions League according to season standings in their own domestic leagues.
Europe’s elite clubs have been pushing for changes to the Champions League in recent years. Essentially, they want more matches against each other and a bigger slice of the pie. At the moment, UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, decides how to distribute revenue generated from its competitions.
UEFA has made reforms in the hope it would stop the formation of a breakaway league — the changes were announced on Monday.
But the changes were clearly not enough, and the so-called Dirty Dozen announced the breakaway league just hours before UEFA’s announcement