Fans were left waiting for an announcement that looks unlikely to come from some of European football’s biggest clubs as news continues to circulate surrounding a European Super League forming potentially as early as next season.
The European Club Association (ECA) tonight also claimed it is “strongly opposed” to the idea of the inception of a super league, and went as far to say it has no involvement after hosting an emergency meeting.
The ECA is led by their president Andrea Agnelli, also the chairman of Juventus, which raises plenty of questions given the fact Agnelli is spearheading the effort to make the new tournament alongside Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez, Liverpool’s John W. Henry, Manchester United’s Joel Glazer and Arsenal’s Stan Kroenke.
ECA released the statement at around a similar time the continent’s biggest clubs were meant to announce their participation in the Super League (9.30pm).
The ECA statement read: “In light of today’s reports on the subject of a so-called breakaway league, ECA as the body representing 246 leading clubs across Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to working on developing the UEFA club competitions (UCCs) model with UEFA for the cycle beginning 2024 and that a ‘closed super league model’ to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by ECA.
“ECA would refer to the position adopted by its Executive Board at its meeting last Friday 16th April, namely that it supports a commitment to work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European Club Football as a whole post-2024.
“With ECA’s support, UEFA’s Executive Committee is being asked to endorse these commitments at its meeting on 19th April along with pursuing efforts to reach an agreement on the future relationship between ECA and UEFA.
“The ECA Executive Board will be convening over the coming days to take appropriate decisions in light of any further developments.”
Many fans made a note of Agnelli’s absence during the meeting, given his desire to be at the forefront of the inception of the new Super League.
Crucially, two of the continent’s biggest clubs – Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain – were both in attendance, with the pair having surprisingly sided with UEFA on the issue. This may be because PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is a member of the UEFA Executive Committee.
Many of the reasons surrounding why the biggest clubs wish to start this tournament stem from a desire to boast greater control over factors such as broadcast and sponsorship revenue – with the clubs believing they could make more money independently, away from UEFA restrictions.
New York-based investment bank JP Morgan will bankroll the league, with a jaw-dropping £5bn distributed as loans to the teams.
The other half are divided between three Spanish teams and three Italian, with Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona set to join the tournament alongside AC Milan, Inter and Juventus.
The six English clubs reportedly have no plans to withdraw their participation from the domestic game but need the support of the Premier League to join the new tournament, something they will not get – given the European Super League’s inception almost guaranteed to devalue the Premier League’s own product.
The Premier League released a statement of their own over the topic, in which they attack the values of the European Super League, it reads: “The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.
“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. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.
“The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world. Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.
“A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.
“We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”