European Super League would feature up to 80 teams with no permanent members, say organisers

By Sports Desk February 09, 2023

Organisers of the European Super League project are ready to include up to 80 teams in the competition, as they battle to turn the vision into a reality.

In a new manifesto published on Thursday, it was revealed clubs would be split into divisions and guaranteed at least 14 matches per season.

The intention is for clubs to participate in their domestic leagues alongside the European Super League.

According to Super League organisers A22, which describes itself as the company "formed to sponsor and assist" the development of the competition, almost 50 European clubs and stakeholders have been canvassed since October.

The "vast majority" are said to "share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change".

Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, said: “Clubs bear all entrepreneurial risks but too often are forced to sit on the sidelines when key decisions are made, and they are watching their sporting and financial foundations crumble.

"Our discussions have made clear clubs are often unable to publicly speak up against a system where the threat of sanctions is used to stifle opposition.

"Our dialogue has been honest, direct, and fruitful. There are clear conclusions about the need for change and the building blocks of how to achieve it."

The 10-point manifesto covers issues including player health and investment in women's football, but the competition that is currently thought to have only three clubs openly supporting its development – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – also makes it clear this should be a mass-participation event.

The original plans, revealed in April 2021, involved just 12 top clubs, with most backing out immediately after a wave of anger from across the game. Six were from England, three from Spain and three from Italy. It was feared it would be closed to others.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain were among clubs that declined to become involved in the project.

Fears have been expressed that such a competition would be harmful to existing domestic leagues.

The new manifesto states: "A European football league should be an open, multi-divisional competition with 60 to 80 teams, allowing for sustainable distribution of revenues across the pyramid.

"Participation should be based on annual sporting merit and there should be no permanent members."

It adds: "Participating clubs should remain fully committed to domestic tournaments as they are today.

"At the same time, the critical need to strengthen and make more competitive domestic tournaments across the continent must be addressed.

"European competitions should play a pivotal role in helping to achieve this goal by generating and allocating additional resources throughout the system."

With clubs' finances coming under scrutiny, the A22 statement adds: "Financial sustainability rules should allow clubs to only spend a fixed percentage of their annual football-related revenue on player salaries and net transfers with appropriate provisions for smaller clubs and transition rules."

European Super League bosses last month succeeded in restoring an injunction preventing UEFA and FIFA from punishing clubs wishing to be involved in the controversial project.

The European Union's Court of Justice (CJEU) is due to rule in the coming months on whether the long-standing European and world governing bodies would be entitled to freeze out a European Super League and its competing teams.

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