A breakaway football league in Europe is threatening to tear the global game apart, after 15 of the biggest clubs signed up to the controversial new venture.
The rebel league, which will be known as the European Super League, would essentially replace the existing UEFA Champions League, which was set to announce plans to expand to a 36-team competition in the coming days.
However, ongoing disputes between UEFA and the clubs about how to split the Champions League’s annual $US3.3 billion ($4.27 billion) in television and sponsorship rights has ultimately led to a relationship breakdown.
The organisers of the proposed tournament have said they believe the new Super League could generate $US4.86 billion ($6.29 billion) in TV revenue.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan have all committed to joining the new league. Overnight, the English Premier League’s Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham were also revealed to be part of the group.
The clubs would govern the league, with Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez set to take the role of inaugaural chairman.
Each founding club would receive around $US400 million ($517 million), according to reports. To put that in context, the winning club of the Champions League has previously received around $US100 million ($130 million).
JPMorgan Chase is understood to be raising finance for the new tournament.
The involved clubs are being slammed for their greed and for effectively creating a ‘closed’ league format and have also been warned by the game’s governing body that joining the new Super League would result in a ban from domestic leagues, while players involved would also be banned from international fixtures.
The Super League has said it is aiming for an August kick-off.
However, there is of course the possibility the Super League fails to get off the ground. UEFA has put out a statement detailing that it will “consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening”.
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