A future European Super League could include as many as 80 teams, Bernd Reichart, the chief executive of A22 Sports Management, a company formed to sponsor and assist in the creation of the breakaway football league, said Thursday.
In a statement outlining the preliminary results of talks that A22 said it has had with 50 European clubs and stakeholders of football, the company said change was necessary.
“The vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change,” the statement said.
“Feedback suggests a European football league that is open, based solely on sporting merit, multidivisional with 60-80 clubs and a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches per club.”
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus were among 12 clubs to announce a breakaway Super League in April 2021. But the move collapsed within 48 hours after an outcry from fans, governments and players forced Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid to pull out.
That left only Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus as holdouts. The ESL took its case to a Spanish court that subsequently sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union.
“Our objective is to present a sustainable sporting project for European club competitions available to, at a minimum, all 27 EU Member States as soon as possible after receipt of the judgment,” Reichart said.
“The issues are clear, and action must be taken for the benefit of fans, players, and clubs.”
A22 said there were 10 principles that emerged from the discussions, including improving competitiveness, financial sustainability and fan experience.
LaLiga responded to the A22 proposal by saying: “We are aware that A22, the Super League promoters, are pushing a story today presenting a manifesto with ten ‘principles.’ Our response: Don’t let them fool you. They’ve been telling tales for many years, this is just the latest attempt by big clubs to hijack European football.”
LaLiga president Javier Tebas said the plan would favour only big clubs.
“The Super League is the wolf, who today disguises himself as a granny to try to fool European football, but his nose and his teeth are very big,” Tebas said on Twitter on Thursday.
“Four divisions in Europe? Of course the first for them, as in the 2019 reform. Government of the clubs? Of course only the big ones.”
European football body UEFA, the biggest opponent to the ESL plan, which it views as a threat to its own Champions League club competition, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The European Leagues — the association of Europe’s professional leagues — were equally critical, saying they had not even been consulted by A22.
“The Leagues fully support the current European club football model which is based on a open pyramidal structure with promotion and relegation from grassroots to professional at domestic level,” they said.
“This model is far from being broken and does not need to be fixed.”
The European Club Association said A22’s “rehashed idea” had already been “proposed, discussed and comprehensively rejected by all stakeholders in 2019.”
It added: “As the sole organisation recognised by FIFA and UEFA representing clubs at European and international level, and the only body through which clubs have genuine representation in their decision-making, ECA reiterates its long-standing opposition to the European Super League and any breakaway project.
“From 2024 more clubs from more countries will participate in European men’s club competitions every season.”
At issue in the ongoing court case is whether UEFA and global governing body FIFA statutes allowing them to block rival events and bar clubs and players from taking part conform with EU competition rules.