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European Super League: criticism mounts as further plans leaked

More details emerged this week of a breakaway European Super League consisting of 15 permanent teams – and the plans have drawn criticism from across the game.

Yesterday The Times said they had seen a copy of the latest iteration of a European Super League that would consist of 15 permanent founder teams and an additional five qualifiers.

Six English clubs would be offered up to £310 million each by JP Morgan to join the breakaway league and could earn as much as £213 million a season from it.

In the version of the competition shared by The Times two groups of ten clubs will play each other home and away, with the top four from each group going through to the two-legged quarter-finals and semi-finals. The final would be one-leg.

The plans have been heavily criticised by national associations, politicians and supporter organisations across Europe.

Football Supporters Europe (FSE), the umbrella organisation for local and national fan groups across the continent, of which the FSA is a member, said: “The European sports model is based on sporting merit, qualification for Europe via domestic success, and fair revenue distribution.

“It should be strengthened by all stakeholders, not undermined.”

FSE will hold an emergency board meeting in the coming days to decide upon a response to the latest developments.

FIFA and the six continental confederations issued a statement yesterday outlining their opposition and confirming that a European Super League would not be recognised by the global governing body. Additionally, they said any player participating in it would be barred from FIFA tournaments such as the World Cup.

“Football for the rich and powerful”

Even the European Commission waded into the controversy branding the plans as incompatible with the “European way of life”.

“There is no scope for the few to distort the universal and diverse nature of European football,” said Margaritis Schinas, European Commission vice president. “The European way of life is not compatible with European football being reserved for the rich and the powerful.”

The FSA has long-opposed the concept of a European Super League, arguing that such a league would have a disastrous impact on the domestic game.

The FSA believes European competition and domestic leagues should be organised around the following six principles:

  1. Promotion and relegation based on sporting performance – from the bottom of the pyramid to qualification for Europe
  2. No to closed leagues or franchise football – qualify on results, not through history or heritage
  3. Weekends are for domestic leagues – protect fan culture, home and away. No live broadcasts on Saturdays at 3:00pm
  4. We want competitive leagues – no to even more concentration of wealth and on-going domination by a fixed few top clubs
  5. Domestic football comes first – protect the pyramid and cup competitions
  6. Share the wealth – the money from elite football should be shared across the whole game.

These principles were backed by fans across the continent at the European Football Fans Congress in 2019.

FSA chief executive Kevin Miles said: “This is the most advanced proposal we’ve yet seen for a potential European Super League and it’s something that should be of grave concern to supporters up and down the game.

“Decisive action is now needed to protect the game we love. Football in all its forms in the UK, from grassroots to the top tier, occupies far too important a place in our society to be jeopardised by an even greater concentration of wealth in the hands of 15 big clubs across Europe.”

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