Leading football clubs launch plans for breakaway Super League
UEFA have expressed their disapproval, claiming players participating in the Super League could be “banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions, European or International level.” (Reuters Photo)
THE move by 12 of Europe’s top clubs to launch a Super League on Sunday (18) has kicked off what is likely to be a bitter struggle for control of the game but the idea of a breakaway competition has been bubbling away for more than 20 years.
Top clubs from England, Spain and Italy announced the breakaway competition to rival UEFA Champions League, with the plans being condemned by soccer authorities, political leaders and former players.
JP Morgan on Monday (19) said that it was financing the new breakaway Super League. A spokesman for JP Morgan confirmed in an email of its involvement with the new league.
In 1998, Milan-based sports marketing group Media Partners held talks with leading clubs, including AC Milan and Manchester United, seeking to build support for a breakaway league.
Global soccer body FIFA threatened national associations, clubs and players with suspension if they linked up with the proposed competition.
UEFA finally killed off the plan by expanding the Champions League, offering clubs a greater slice of TV and sponsorship revenue, and upping prize money.
The idea resurfaced in 2009 as Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez, who had returned for a second stint as president, criticised UEFA’s handling of the Champions League and called for teams to work with the body to ensure top clubs always play each other.
UEFA announced significant changes to the Champions League in 2016, saying they had managed to “keep it in the family” after staving off the threat of a breakaway league.
As a result, the top four European leagues – Spain, Germany, England and Italy – would be guaranteed four places in the group stage from the 2018-19 season.
To Sunday’s development, UEFA have expressed their disapproval, claiming players participating in the Super League could be “banned from all UEFA and FIFA competitions, European or International level.”
FIFA too on Sunday (18) disapproved of the proposed breakaway European Super League as it was outside of international football structures.
“FIFA can only express its disapproval to a “closed European breakaway league” outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles,” it said in a statement.
“FIFA always stands for unity in world football and calls on all parties involved in heated discussions to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game and in the spirit of solidarity and fair play.
“We will, of course, do whatever is necessary to contribute to a harmonised way forward in the overall interests of football.”