European Super League Explained: What Is It And Why Is It So Controversial
The past few days have been huge for the game of football, thanks to the announcement of a European Super League.
But what is the ESL and what does it mean for the teams involved, their current leagues and competitions and, most importantly, the fans?
At present, 12 ‘Founding Clubs’ have signed up for the European Super League who have agreed in principle to split off and form a brand new football competition that will also be governed by them.
The teams joining from England are what are known as the so-called ‘Big Six’, which include current league champions Liverpool, champions-elect Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Atletico Madrid, plan to join the Super League, alongside Italian teams AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
Three other currently unannounced teams will be making up the dozen.
However, since last night’s big reveal, Juventus have declared they will leave the European Club Association, according to the MailOnline, and Jose Mourinho and his backroom staff have all left Spurs – with some rumours suggesting it’s in response to the club’s association with the ESL.
Interestingly, the likes of PSG and Bayern Munich are not included in one of the biggest stories to rock world football in years.
The idea is to replace the current Champions League format – long regarded as the biggest prize in club football – and comes mere hours before UEFA were set to discuss changes to the current UCL format. It was believed that the Champions League was to be extended to 36 team by 2024, increasing the qualification numbers in the biggest leagues
The big pull appears to be a financial one for the clubs signed up, as Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol outlined the massive jump in potential earnings: ‘I keep saying it is about money, and if you look at the finances, a club like Man United playing in the Champions League, they make between £40m and £80m on a good year if they win it,’ he explained.
‘If they play in this new competition,’ he continued, ‘they get a cheque for £250m-£300m to begin with, then in the future they will get three times as much money a season as they get from the Champions League.’
The financial gain for some of these teams, including the likes of United and most troublingly Barcelona who are in an enormous amount of debt, could be reaping some half a billion in revenue.
‘You are looking at £200m-£250m in TV rights, they will be able to sell some of the rights to the games themselves on their own channels, the broadcast rights all over the world.’
Besides an intended 15 clubs to serve as founders of the tournament, an additional five teams would be able to qualify annually. Two groups of 10 teams will play each other home and away, with eight qualifying for a knockout stage, further rounds will continue right up until a final two are left for a championship decider.
All games will be played midweek, run from August to May, and the ‘final’ played at a neutral venue.
It’s unclear how the five qualifying teams will be invited but the most damning concern is how irate fans appear to be across the board, with top trends on Twitter addressing the elite league proposal with #BoycottEuropeanSuperLeague and other related words dominating the social media site.
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