What is happening?
Reports emerged on Sunday of plans for a breakaway European Super League. It is in response to UEFA’s new Champions League format, which will involve 36 teams and is to be announced on Monday.
European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli, who is also Juventus president, seems to have backed the Super League.
The ECA itself and its board had previously backed the new Champions League format.
But there is now said to be significant support for a Super League.
Why are PSG opposed?
The Athletic has been told PSG are not involved in the plans at the moment in time. There is a belief at the top of the club that it would be disrespectful to join them.
They are keen to discuss UEFA’s proposal after it is presented on Monday.
PSG are also thought to believe that European competition should not be restricted to the richest clubs, and that smaller teams like Atalanta, Ajax or Leicester should have their shot.
A source added: “We are sticking to the tradition of UEFA.”
What has been said?
A statement said: «UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La Liga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.
«If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, La Liga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
«We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
«As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.
«We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.»
Who is backing the plan?
The 12 clubs supporting the European Super League, as it stands, are: Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus.
What would a European Super League look like?
A report in January made this clear. The tournament would involve 20 clubs, with 15 permanent members and five qualifying annually. Six English clubs — the same six clubs that comprise the Premier League’s so-called “big six” — would be among 15 permanent founding members.
The Times reported that founder members of a proposed European Super League would be offered up to £310 million each to join the competition. Champions League qualification is worth about £100 million.
The 20 clubs would be split into two 10-team groups. Each team in a group would play home and away matches against one another. The top four teams in each group would then play a knockout play-off across the two divisions to decide the champion for the season.
There would be home and away legs in the quarter-finals and semi-final, with a final played at a neutral venue.
It would also see a best versus worst approach to the knockout matches, with the team with the best record playing the team with the eighth-best record. This would also apply to the semi-finals.
Matches would take place in midweek, with the exception of the final. Clubs would still play in their domestic leagues.
And what about UEFA’s reformed Champions League?
UEFA wants a new format for the Champions League from 2024, with one 36-team league replacing the current group stage, where every team plays 10 matches.
This is called the ‘Swiss model’.
Under the proposed format, by the time winner has lifted the European Cup, the competition will have produced 100 new games, and the finalists will have played at least 17 matches, four more than under the current system.
Accommodating four additional games in the autumn will be a challenge for most national leagues, however, including in England, where the Carabao Cup would be under threat.
Three of the four extra Champions League places would meanwhile go to clubs based on past performance in Europe, using the UEFA coefficient ranking system.
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