A group of the richest football / soccer clubs in the world – including Manchester United and Real Madrid – announced their plans for the separatist league from August in a statement on Monday.
UEFA in talks with Centricus Asset Management for € 6bn ($ 7.2bn) in funding to overhaul its flagship football tournament and stop plans for a new separatist Super League, people close to it say folder.
The Switzerland-based sports body is working with Centricus on a plan to finance a new UEFA Champions League tournament, the people said, asking not to be identified to discuss confidential information.
Negotiations are ongoing and there is no certainty that UEFA and London-based Centricus will reach a deal, people say. A Centricus representative declined to comment, while a UEFA spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
It comes as UEFA prepares to fight with a new Super League that could mark the biggest upheaval in European football since the 1950s and end the decades-long reign of the Champions League as the premier competition. clubs in the world.
A group of the richest football clubs in the world, including Manchester United and Real Madrid, announced plans for the breakaway league from August in a statement on Monday morning. The big names – six from England, three from Italy and three from Spain have signed up so far – are said to be playing midweek as an alternative to the UEFA tournament. In addition to what will be 15 permanent teams, five more will qualify each year for the Super League.
The € 4 billion plan, funded by JPMorgan Chase & Co., has already drawn strong criticism from domestic leagues and politicians. UEFA has said it could ban players from the national teams’ Super League teams that compete in domestic Euro and World Cup competitions.
Centricus has been in talks with UEFA for several months regarding the funding, a person familiar with the matter said. The investment firm had discussed an initial package of around 4.2 billion euros, which was increased to 6 billion euros following the rival Super League proposal, the person said.
Centricus, which oversees around $ 30 billion in assets according to its website, is well connected to large and wealthy institutions in the Middle East and Asia, and has helped SoftBank Group Corp. to raise $ 100 billion for its huge Vision Fund.
The company was founded in 2016 by Nizar Al-Bassam, former investment banker of Deutsche Bank AG, and former partner of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Dalinc Ariburnu.
Despite managing a small team from London, Centricus became known for a series of opportunistic deals. He is currently working with Indian commodities tycoon Anil Agarwal on a plan to invest $ 10 billion in turnaround opportunities in India, and last year made a last-minute pitch to buy TikTok’s operations in India. several countries for $ 20 billion. In 2019, he made a foray into the upscale hotel and resort industry and purchased the iconic Capri Palace Hotel & Spa.
In the sports industry, Centricus has also been part of a consortium, alongside SoftBank and FIFA, to launch a series of new football tournaments, and has had talks to invest in Swiss club FC Basel. .
Supporters claim the Super League would create a more exciting competition because the best teams in the game would play each other more often. It would also be lucrative for them, with permanent membership lifting the uncertainty of the Champions League, whose teams must qualify each year or risk losing broadcast and sponsorship income.
But the idea of creating a competition that takes the drama of a smaller team such as quadruple champion Ajax winning the trophy or of a bigger club needing to qualify in the first place has angered fan groups and the old players, who say he rolls. an overview of the history and culture of club play.
Even if the Super League plan is halted by its opponents, it poses a powerful threat that could help clubs win more concessions from UEFA. The body’s plans to expand the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams and increase the number of matches have angered some teams complaining that the season already has too many matches.