Top European football clubs sign up for separatist Super League

Many of Europe’s wealthiest football clubs have agreed to join a “Super League” breakaway competition that would mark the game’s biggest transformation in decades.

Up to 12 clubs have signed a plan, backed by $ 6 billion in debt financing from JPMorgan, to launch a new tournament that would replace the Champions League, currently the continent’s largest annual club competition.

According to those with knowledge of the discussions, those ready to join the separation contest include Spain’s Real Madrid and FC Barcelona; Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in England; and Italian Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan. These clubs declined or did not respond to a request for comment.

The new league, according to documents seen by the FT, would involve 20 clubs including 15 “permanent members”, meaning they could not be relegated and would not need to qualify thanks to strong performances in competitions. of the national league.

The founding members would receive between 100 and 350 million euros each and would continue to play in their domestic competitions, such as the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga. With an expected turnover of 4 billion euros for the competition via media sales and sponsorship, clubs would receive a fixed payment of 264 million euros per year. JPMorgan declined to comment.

Among the clubs not yet registered are Paris Saint-Germain in France and Bayern Munich in Germany, among the richest in Europe, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A statement on the Super League is designed to avoid an alternative plan for a radical transformation of the Champions League, which is led by UEFA, the governing body of European football.

At UEFA’s annual conference on Monday, it is set to endorse a radical new format for its competition, which includes 100 more games each season and more money-spinning ties between the top teams.

The move comes after the Association of European Clubs, a body that represents the interests of more than 200 leading teams and led by Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, met last week to discuss proposed reforms for the continent’s club tournaments.

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ECA agreed to allow UEFA to make the proposed format changes, but widespread discontent with the plan, as the major clubs wanted greater guarantees on a new joint venture that would control all media and sponsorship rights for European club competitions.

UEFA’s attempts to contact Agnelli over the weekend to find out whether Juventus had agreed to join the Super League have failed, according to people familiar with the talks. However, other key power middlemen have been made aware, such as La Liga boss Javier Tebas, who is among football officials seeking to block the separation plan.

Big clubs, which have faced sharp drops in revenue during the pandemic, are excited about the new competition, which they say will secure income from European matches every season. This could also include aspects of cost control, such as potential salary caps and spending limits.

The competition would resemble the structure of “closed” North American sports leagues, where franchise owners enjoy reliable profits and team valuation steadily increases over time.

But the plan breaks with the pyramid structure of the European game, where even the smallest teams, thanks to strong performances on the pitch, can win the biggest trophies.

UEFA declined to comment.

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