European Super League: Why aren’t Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and PSG involved?

European Super League
(Image credit: PA Images)

When the 12 clubs plotting to form a European Super League were revealed on Sunday evening, the list contained three notable absentees: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and PSG

The latter was perhaps the most surprising - you’d have been forgiven for thinking PSG would be spearheading the scheme. The French juggernauts are renowned for their extravagance both on and off the field; a club defined - or perhaps, redefined - by money more than any other on the continent. Champions League finalists last season, they are the only one of this year's semi-finalists not on the breakaway list.

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Bayern, meanwhile, are the reigning European champions. No “Super League” comprised of the biggest and best teams on the planet should exclude the Champions League holders. Borussia Dortmund, one of the most respected and widely supported teams in Europe would also make the cut of any football fan’s “biggest and best” list. So why aren’t these clubs joining? 

Why aren't PSG involved?

Kylian Mbappe celebrating his goal against Bayern Munich

PSG’s status as the biggest and best team in France is assured regardless of whether they seal a fourth straight Ligue 1 title this season (an eighth in nine seasons). They reached the Champions League Final last season, are the fourth most valuable club in Europe, own the two most expensive players in the world and pride themselves on being a symbol of footballing extravagance. 

Therefore, the announcement that they're not involved has raised eyebrows, and the touted explanation may also surprise. According to reports, PSG are yet to commit due to their loyalty to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin.

UEFA released a statement on Sunday evening condemning the 12 clubs involved and threatening sanctions. Decision-makers, led by Ceferin, are said to be outraged and PSG are not inclined to tarnish their relationship with the UEFA boss, which has been described as "close". It is unknown whether they will be open to joining at a later date. 

Why aren't Bayern and Dortmund involved?

Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho

(Image credit: PA)

The fact no German clubs will be involved is also interesting, such is the regard German football is held in across the continent. Bayern, who claimed the treble in 2019/20, are an especially eye-catching absentee.

Shortly after the story broke, the DFL denounced the Super League, with CEO Christian Seifert writing that a Super League would “irreparably damage national leagues”. 

It's a strong stance, but this wouldn’t have been enough to prevent Bayern and Dortmund from joining if they'd wanted to. The Premier League is also against the plans and that didn't stop six of their clubs from signing up. 

Yet the very nature of German football means Bundesliga clubs were always unlikely instigators. German football's 50+1 rule - which gives members of each club the final say on important decisions - makes it impossible for board members and CEOs to do as they please. Everything from shirt sponsors to stadium rebuilds must be rubber-stamped by members and the Super League is unlikely to have been given the green light.

Another thing to consider is that Bayern and Dortmund are overseen by former players. Club legends Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the CEO of Bayern Munich, and Michael Zorc, Borussia Dortmund’s Sporting Director, appreciate the legacy and traditions of their clubs more than many of their counterparts across Europe. Rummenigge and Zorc both starred in the Bundesliga and European Cup for their sides, and one assumes they would not want to devalue their own achievements by alienating their clubs from the same competitions.

With the Super League story still in its embryonic stage, there is still time for Bayern, Dortmund or PSG to sign up. For now, though, they have avoided this PR-disaster for the reasons outlined above. 

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Ed McCambridge
Staff Writer

Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Favourite FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.