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THE Premier League said today that it “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit” following reports that six of its clubs were supporting a European Super League.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have reportedly signed up to the breakaway plan.
“The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid,” the league said in a statement.
The developments occurred on the eve of a new-look 36-team Champions League being discussed by Uefa on Monday.
“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best,” the statement continued.
“We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.”
The statement added: “The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world.
“Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.
“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.
“We will work with fans, the FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”
The creation of a 20-team annual European Super League would include 15 top clubs as permanent members. The five other teams would vary each season, although the qualification method has not been determined.
Each of the 15 founding members would get a share of at least €3.5 billion (£3bn) in initial infrastructure grants.
The money would be split among four tiers of clubs, with the top six each getting €350 million (£30m).
The competition would begin with two groups of 10 teams, with the top four from each group advancing to the quarterfinals.
That would guarantee every team 18 annual Super League matches, compared to a minimum of 10 games in the planned new-look Champions League group stage.
The games, apart from the final, would be played in midweek like the current Champions League, allowing them to still play in domestic competitions.
This latest Super League proposal hopes to generate €4bn (£3.4bn) annually from broadcasters. In comparison, Uefa most recently reported making a combined €3.25bn (£2.8bn) from selling the rights to the Champions League, Europa League and Uefa Super Cup.
The 15 founding clubs of the new competition would take the greatest slice of the broadcasting revenue.
In a solo statement, the FA said it was clear a European Super League would be “damaging to English and European football at all levels” and it would “take any legal and/or regulatory action necessary to protect the broader interests of the English game.”
Meanwhile Uefa’s executive committee is expected to agree to the controversial proposal to revamped the Champions League on Monday.
The new format, which is set to start in 2024 and run until at least 2033, moved a step nearer on Friday following meetings between the European Club Association (ECA) board and Uefa’s club competitions committee.
The so-called “Swiss model” will see teams compete in one 36-team league, instead of the current system where 32 sides are split into eight pools of four, and guarantee each club 10 matches on a seeded basis.
The new format, which guarantees clubs four more games than in the current group phase, takes the Champions League from 125 to 225 matches and would create a huge headache for domestic schedulers.
Fans’ groups, including those from Manchester United and Arsenal, said in an open letter to European Club Association chairman and Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli, the plan to restructure the Champions League “present a serious threat to the entire game.”
The letter, signed by 17 fans’ groups from 14 teams whose clubs are in the ECA, including Ajax, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, said it was a “blatant power grab” and would “wreck domestic calendars.”
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