A group made up of the biggest soccer clubs in Spain, England and Italy has agreed to join a breakaway league that has the potential to change the landscape of world soccer. The New York Times was the first to report the move before those behind a new European super league released a statement Sunday night.
So far, 12 teams have signed up for the super league, including Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid from Spain; Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham from England; and Juventus, A.C. Milan and Inter from Italy. Three more teams are expected to join, according to the release.
"By bringing together the world's greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid," Joel Glazer, the vice-chairman of the Super League said.
Founding clubs will receive €3.5 billion ($4.2 billion), per the release.
The new league will feature 20 clubs with 15 founding clubs and a qualifying mechanism for an additional five teams to qualify annually, per the release. A corresponding women's league will also be launched sometime in the future.
The report suggested that each permanent member of the proposed breakaway league, which would begin in 2022, has been promised €350 million ($425 million) with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in discussions to help finance the league. But top Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have reportedly doubled down on their commitment to Champions League, for the time being, despite being courted by the proposed super league.
An announcement by the breakaway clubs is expected before Monday when UEFA is set to ratify a new 36-team Champions League format that would begin in the 2024–25 season. Known as the "Swiss Model," the proposed new Champions League format would dissolve the current eight-group format into one large group, weighted by seeding, where each team would play 10 group games.
But without the breakaway teams, the Champions League would face an existential crisis that could result in massive losses and demands for millions of dollars in refunds from broadcast companies and sponsors.
UEFA could reportedly ban every club and player that participates in the super league from all UEFA and FIFA competitions, according to Sky Sport's (Italy) Fabrizio Romano. This would include the World Cup.
Earlier this year, FIFA threatened to ban players who competed in an unsanctioned league from the World Cup.
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