Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Anfield on April 14, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
Shaun Botterill | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images
Twelve of the leading European football clubs have agreed to set up a Super League despite widespread criticism of the plans.
A statement from the new competition states: “AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have joined as founding clubs.
“It is expected that three more clubs will join before the opening season, which is due to start as soon as possible.”
Florentino Pérez, President of Real Madrid and first chairman of the Super League, said: “We will help football at all levels and bring it to its rightful place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their wishes. “
The project is launched to keep up with the UEFA Champions League format, which currently dominates European football. UEFA was due to sign plans for an expanded and restructured Champions League on Monday.
The new Super League was criticized by politicianssuch as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labor Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, as well as former players such as Gary Neville.
Mr Johnson said the new league will “be at the heart of the national game and affect fans across the country”.
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He added: “The clubs involved must respond to their fans and the wider football community before taking any further action.”
Sir Keir said the plans ignored fans, adding, “Football in empty stadiums hasn’t been the same last year. I can’t wait to get back to the games, but this proposal could shut the door for fans forever . ” and reduces them to mere viewers and consumers.
“The clubs involved in this proposal should reconsider immediately. And if not, they should face the consequences of their actions. Because football is nothing without fans.”
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports: “I’m not against modernizing football competitions, we have the Premier League, the Champions League, but I think we have proposals for everyone amid COVID and the economic crisis. ” Clubs is an absolute scandal.
“United and the rest of the ‘Big Six’ who signed up against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.”
Neville added: “You should subtract six points from all six teams that signed up. Subtract points from everyone. To do it during a season? It’s a joke.”
UEFA, the FA and the Premier League have among others expressed their opposition and declared in a joint statement that they “remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project”, adding: “We thank these clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs that have refused to register.
“This persistent self-interest of a few has lasted too long. Enough is enough.”
The English federation said: “We would not give permission for competitions that would harm English football and we will take all legal and / or regulatory action necessary to protect the broader interests of the game.”
20 clubs take part in the Super League competition – 15 founding clubs and another five teams that can qualify annually based on their performance in the past season.
It starts in August with clubs that participate in two groups of ten and sometimes play home and away games during the week. The top three in each group qualify for the quarter-finals.
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will battle it out in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-finals before using the round of 16 at the end of May to advance to the final, which will be played as an individual game at a neutral location.
Club players can continue to compete in their national leagues, and a women’s league will be launched as soon as possible after the men’s competition begins.