Six English teams are expected to be part of plans for a breakaway European Super League, but what do we know so far?
What has happened?
A group of 12 of Europe’s biggest clubs have signed up to a proposal to start a breakaway European Super League, according to Sky News.
The proposal involves the clubs forming their own competition to rival the UEFA Champions League.
Which clubs are involved?
The Premier League’s big-six clubs – Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham – are all involved.
Sky Sports News has contacted the six Premier League clubs for comment; Manchester United and Tottenham declined to give a response regarding the proposals.
The other clubs reported to have signed up for the proposal are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
German giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are not included and nor are French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
What have the clubs said so far?
The clubs are yet to comment but a statement is expected at 9.30pm on Sunday.
What has the reaction been?
The plans have prompted widespread condemnation, with Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville labelling the English clubs involved a “disgrace” and calling for them to be sanctioned by the Premier League.
Governing bodies and leagues across Europe are viewing the proposal as an attempted power-grab.
The Premier League released a statement saying a super league would “destroy” the premise of open competition.
“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,” said the statement.
“We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.”
UEFA were similarly critical in a joint-statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish FA, La Liga, the Italian FA and Serie A and threatened to ban participating clubs from their domestic competitions.
“We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
“The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.”
Even Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had his say, tweeting: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action. They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.
“The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”
How realistic is this?
This does feel significant, both for the future of English and European football.
We have been here before – namely Project Big Picture – but what feels different this time is the level of planning and what may or may not have been signed.
The furious reaction from the Premier League, UEFA and other European leagues signifies just how much this threatens the integrity of domestic and European leagues.
Clubs would need the approval of the associations, who govern the domestic competitions, to join an unsanctioned breakaway league.
“I cannot envisage any scenario where such permission would be granted,” said Premier League chief executive Richard Masters in a memo to all 20 Premier League clubs.
What would the ramifications be?
Potentially huge. Under Premier League rule L.9, which all 20 clubs sign up to, clubs must obtain ‘prior written approval of the Board’ if they wish to enter to anything other than the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, FA Community Shield, Carabao Cup or any other competition sanctioned by the county association.
Any player whose club agrees to join an unsanctioned competition risks not playing in any UEFA or FIFA competition, including the European Championships and World Cup.
In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation.”
What would the format be?
Those involved in the proposed breakaway may point to this being a mere ‘extra’ midweek fixture, though with an already-packed schedule, it is not as simple or straightforward as that.
The total number of teams involved and the exact format remains unclear, but it is widely considered that this is direct rival to the Champions League.
How would the league be financed?
About $5billion has been committed to this new project by the American bank JP Morgan.