European Super League teams: Which clubs will take part?

Move by major clubs from England, Spain and Italy could alter the shape of club football forever

Karl Matchett
Monday 19 April 2021 10:37 BST
Six English clubs join breakaway to form new European Super League

A dozen of Europe’s richest clubs, including six from the Premier League, have agreed to join a new European Super League.

Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham have announced plans to establish the competition along with AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

It is anticipated three more clubs will join the breakaway group as founding members of the new mid-week competition, which will begin “as soon as practicable”.

The 15 regular participants, who will be granted automatic entry each year, will be joined by five more teams, who can qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.

The plans have faced widespread criticism for creating a “closed shop” at the summit of European club football, while Boris Johnson on Sunday described the move as “very damaging” for the domestic game.

Uefa, the sport’s governing body in Europe, has said players participating in the Super League could be “banned from all Uefa and Fifa competitions”, including representing their national sides at the World Cup or European Championships.

A statement released by the European Super League group said clubs would receive a share of a €3.5bn (£3bn) fund “solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the Covid pandemic”.

The statement added: “The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model.

“Further, for a number of years, the Founding Clubs have had the objective of improving the quality and intensity of existing European competitions throughout each season, and of creating a format for top clubs and players to compete on a regular basis.

“The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid. In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions.

“The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.”

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is named the first chairman of the Super League, with Juventus counterpart Andrea Agnelli the vice chairman alongside Manchester United’s Joel Glazer.

Follow live: European Super League LIVE: Legal action launched as Premier League ‘big six’ condemned for signing up

As it became clear an announcement was imminent on Sunday, criticism of the competition was raised from all angles, including the UK government and all major European football organising bodies.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said the “deeply troubling” proposals could undermine fair competition in the game, while the European parliament’s sports group warned a “closed competition of superrich clubs” could “form a privileged caste outside the structures of European club football”.

The Premier League said in a statement that a Super League would “destroy” the premise of open competition.

“A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper,” it added.

And in a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish FA, La Liga, the Italian FA and Serie A, Uefa also condemned the “cynical project”, threatening to ban participating clubs from existing domestic competitions.

“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.

“The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”

Fifa also condemned the proposals. “Fifa can only express its disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles,” it said in a statement.

“Fifa always stands for unity in world football and calls on all parties involved in heated discussions to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game and in the spirit of solidarity and fair play.

“We will, of course, do whatever is necessary to contribute to a harmonised way forward in the overall interests of football.”

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