Reports emerged on Tuesday that clubs across the continent were in discussions over the formation of a European Premier League.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key issues around this highly controversial topic.
What are the details?
It was reported on Tuesday that American investment bank JP Morgan was prepared to provide financing of £4.6billion to kick-start a new competition, which would feature the continent’s top clubs and take place during the European season.
Reports suggested it could begin as early as 2022, with up to 18 teams involved.
Who is meant to be part of it?
Liverpool and Manchester United – who have faced recent criticism over their development of the controversial Project Big Picture proposals – are reportedly part of the talks. The plans are said to have the backing of the sport’s world governing body FIFA and are also reported to involve Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
What have they said?
Neither Liverpool nor Manchester United have commented publicly yet. FIFA said on Tuesday: “FIFA does not wish to comment and participate in any speculation about topics which come up every now and then and, for which, institutional structures and regulatory frameworks are well in place at national, European and global level.”
How can this co-exist with the Champions League?
It cannot, which is why UEFA is strongly opposed to it. It released a statement on Tuesday evening saying that the principles of open leagues were “non-negotiable”. It also said that any such super league would “inevitably become boring”.
What about FIFA’s own plans for a Club World Cup?
There is a case for saying these plans would devalue that competition as well, and would therefore seem counter to FIFA’s interests. Once a date for it is finally fixed on the calendar, that is intended to take place in the summer, once every four years. The first was due to be staged in China next summer before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to be indefinitely delayed.
What else has been said?
Seriously, if you’re a club owner or football financier who thinks a global health crisis is the perfect opportunity to rip up and reshape football to suit billionaires… you have no idea how much fans detest your concept. It will not go how you think. https://t.co/PVVEjsqrAx— The FSA (@WeAreTheFSA) October 20, 2020
The Football Supporters’ Association says that if the reports are correct of English clubs’ involvement, it kills off once and for all the idea that the national game can be self-regulated and that “billionaire owners are out of control”.
Why are we hearing about this now?
The timing is no coincidence, in the view of many involved in the continental game. They point to the fact that talks are ongoing regarding the future shape of European competition from 2024, and that these stories always seem to emerge during the negotiation period.
Haven’t we heard all this before?
Yes. As recently as December last year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin dismissed proposals for a world league – again with Perez reportedly involved – as “insane” and “far-fetched”.
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