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Manchester United Confirms Joining European Super League; Real Madrid's Perez 1st Chairman

Manchester United has confirmed that it is joining the European Super League competition that will consist of 12 teams from the continent. Here is the statement

(Image Courtesy: AP)

(Image Courtesy: AP)

One of the most accomplished football clubs in England and Europe Manchester United has issued an official statement where it has confirmed plans to establish a new Super League competition. In fact, 12 of  Europe’s leading football clubs have come forward and unanimously agreed to establish a new midweek competition, the European Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs, and not UEFA that governs the Champions League.

The participating teams include the likes of AC Milan, Arsenal FC, Atlético de Madrid, Chelsea FC, FC Barcelona, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid CF, and Tottenham Hotspur respectively. 

Meanwhile, it has also been anticipated that three more clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable. 

European Super League Clubs to hold discussions with UEFA & FIFA

At the same time, Man United in their release has also confirmed that the Founding Clubs are looking forward to holding discussions with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA). While UEFA has issued ban threats to the clubs who are looking forward to joining, FIFA is yet to make any remarks on the willingness of the European clubs to create their own version of the Super League tournament.

Real Madrid President Florentino Perez European Super League's first Chairman

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires," said Florentino Perez. Joel Glazer, co-Chairman of Manchester United and Vice-Chairman of the Super League said, “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

Here's all you need to know about the European Super League

The European Super League is a proposal for the formation of a tournament comprising of football clubs from across Europe as a competitor to the existing Champions League where top-tier teams from across Europe qualify to compete based on their rankings in the domestic league. The idea which has been discussed on several occasions since the 1990s has never been implemented due to the opposition from  FIFA and all the six continental confederations. The proposal has been championed by the President of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez. 

The idea floated in 2018 spoke of a 16-team tournament to break away from UEFA and start their own competition. The competition would be similar to the Champions League except UEFA would play no part in the European Super League. Teams would play in a group stage followed by knockout rounds to claim a European Super League champion. According to reports, a European Super League would negatively impact domestic competitions. 

European Super League competition format and structure

Manchester United's press release states the following about the competition format of the European Super League:

  • 20 participating clubs with 15 Founding Clubs and a qualifying mechanism for a further five teams to qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
  • Midweek fixtures with all participating clubs continuing to compete in their respective national leagues, preserving the traditional domestic match calendar which remains at the heart of the club game.
  • An August start with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions.  A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
  • As soon as practicable after the start of the men’s competition, a corresponding women’s league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop the women’s game. 
  • The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues. These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs.
  • In addition, the competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework. In exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic.

(Image Courtesy: AP)

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