It turns out that the European Super League (ESL) crisis has continued since those turbulent 48 hours in April 2021, even though they may still be considered its apex.
Tuesday saw the presentation of a 10-point “manifesto” for reinventing the idea by A22, a consultant engaged by the Super League Company, without any of the annoying “destroying football as we know it” aspects, or so it seems.
The business supported a 12-club ESL proposal in 2021, but it was rejected due to public outcry.
Reichart, A22 chief executive, said, “the very underpinnings of European football are in danger of crumbling.”
“Time for a change. Football clubs are the ones who take on the entrepreneurial risk, but all too frequently, when crucial choices must be made, they are left watching as their financial and sporting underpinnings fall apart.”
The new Super League’s 10-point manifesto
1. 60-80 teams will be involved
A European multi-divisional competition for 60 to 80 teams would be launched under A22’s plan for “broad-based and meritocratic competitions,” “enabling sustainable distribution of profits across the pyramid.”
Contrary to the earlier idea, which England’s ‘big six’ controversially supported, participation “should be based on annual sporting merit, and there should be no permanent members.”
Open qualification based on domestic performance will let up-and-coming teams compete while sustaining competitive dynamics at the domestic level, claims A22.
2. Guaranteed 14 European matches for every club
A22 suggests that a division-based European league could begin to bridge this gap. Offering teams a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches each season would significantly increase revenue, stability and predictability.
The European Super League has announced a new proposal:
▪️ 60-80 teams
▪️ Multiple divisions
▪️ No permanent members
▪️ Minimum of 14 games per club, per season pic.twitter.com/lqimI8VOYa
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 9, 2023
3. It will replace UEFA competitions, Not the Domestic competitions
The “basis of football” is, according to A22, the domestic leagues, in an apparent effort to quell the earlier controversy.
Participating clubs should continue to give domestic tournaments their full attention, according to A22. Additionally, “domestic tournaments must be strengthened and made more fiercely competitive.”
Any possible Premier League sign-ups wouldn’t necessarily avoid being kicked out of the English football pyramid if they joined, despite the Super League’s dedication to maintaining current domestic levels.
4. A Competition run by clubs
The concept is to have a club ownership structure similar to the Premier League’s but with extra protections.
According to A22, “the governance structure must fully comply with EU law.” To increase sustainability, spending should only be based on resources created, not on capital infusions that distort competition.
5. Player health must be the centre of the game
Elite coaches like Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp, and the player union Fifpro are harsh critics of the already crammed playing schedules.
According to A22, the number of games “would not be expanded above those in planned competition calendars. “Player health must be at the centre of the game.”
🚨 The European Super League is back. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus understood to have contacted more than 50 clubs in the hope of creating a new European tournament tht would replace the UEFA Champions League.#CFC
— Chelsea Dodgers 🧢 (@TheBlueDodger) February 9, 2023
6. Season-long European competition
A surge in interest in the US market has fueled the Premier League’s explosive expansion in global TV rights in recent years.
Additionally, it is crucial that younger generations, drawn to US sports and digital entertainment due to its global expansion, continue to support football as the most popular sport in the world, according to A22.
7. Financial Boost for Women game
It is unknown if the women’s game would have a similar setup in the European breakaway.
Instead, according to A22, “funding should be greatly increased beyond current contributions from women’s European club competitions.”
8. A plan to ease the burden on travelling fans
A22 acknowledges the need for “more efforts to enhance fan facilities at away games” and calls for increased communication with fan organisations. However, there is no mention of ticket price caps.
9. Boosting grass-root funding
The grass-roots would receive at least €400 million annually, according to A22, which is “more than twice the contribution from existing European club tournaments.”
10. Aligning the breakaway with the EU
The A22 may be content to begin without the participation of English clubs due to its overt commitment to the EU.
The group asserts, “Stakeholders must accept the ideals, rules, and fundamental freedoms of the EU.”
La Liga president Tebas: Super League is Wolf
Javier Tebas, the president of La Liga, has criticised the ESL and the new ideas.
He claimed on social media that “The Super League is the wolf, who today pretends to be a granny to attempt to dupe European football.”
“But with four divisions in Europe, his nose and teeth are enormous. Naturally, it’s the first for them in the 2019 change. Ruled over by the clubs? Naturally, only the large ones.”
In a statement, La Liga referred to the proposals as a “direct threat” to domestic leagues all around the continent, citing a KPMG report.
According to the statement, “the truth is that they are redrawing European football for the advantage and financial security of big clubs.” The plans imply that the calendar wouldn’t be affected. There is a fairly odd premise with more teams and games: “Where are the promised earnings to come from, if not by snatching them from the national leagues?”
“The Super League is a catastrophe for national leagues, to put it simply. Small and medium-sized European clubs will be destroyed, ending European football as we know it.”
🚨 Javier Tebas has excluded Barcelona and Real Madrid from La Liga meetings in which TV rights are decided.
The reason? Their involvement in the European Super League.
(Source: @voz_populi) pic.twitter.com/FDOthqCWsI
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) February 9, 2023
ECA President Nasser Al-Khelaifi: A22 is living in an alternative reality
The European Club Association (ECA), whose chairman is Nasser Al-Khelaifi, accused A22 of living in an “alternative reality”.
“In the real world, this recycled proposal has previously been suggested, examined. It has thoroughly rejected by all parties in 2019,” it continued.
The ECA emphasised the progress “with all football stakeholders… working for the benefit of the whole European football ecosystem. While reiterating its “long-standing opposition” to the ESL and any breakaway movement.”