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FIFA-backed European Premier League in the works

Man Utd and Real Madrid leading talks for $6BN FIFA-backed European Premier League

October 20, 2020 By Ali M.
Plans for this ground-breaking tournament could be announced before the end of this month, with 2022 being set as the provisional start date.

Sky Sports have dropped a bombshell exclusive, reporting that over a dozen top teams from England, Spain, Germany, Italy, and France are in talks over the formation of a new continental league. This competition, titled the European Premier League, would be an 18-team tournament and is said to be backed by none other than FIFA.

The article highlighted two English clubs that are believed to be at the forefront of these discussions and they are Man United and Liverpool. Surprise, surprise; these were the two teams that were behind the highly-controversial "Project Big Picture" proposal – but more on that later. Up to five Premier League sides could enter this competition, with Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, and Tottenham being candidates – it is unclear which top-six team could miss out.

This 18-team event would boast a double round-robin format for the first stage, with every team facing off twice a season (both home and away). Once that stage wraps up, the top performers would move on to a knockout round where the champions would be crowned. A formal announcement regarding this tournament could even be made as early as the end of this month, according to one football industry figure, with 2022 being set as the provisional start date.

On top of that, giant Wall Street bank JP Morgan are reportedly preparing a $6BN financing package to help launch the European Premier League. Future broadcast income generated by this league would be utilized as a repayment, which isn't all too surprising as the competition would feature the continent's biggest and most popular teams.

Sources claim the European Premier League has the backing of FIFA, with football's world governing body said to have taken part in the discussions. UEFA's stance on this issue remains uncertain but it should be noted that "some insiders" claimed Europe's governing body are not in favor of this tournament.

If true, the proposed competition would all but replace the Champions League, killing the appeal and economics of UEFA's popular club competition. Games would be played during the regular European season but during the week, meaning the top domestic leagues such as the English Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A are not under threat for now. Doubts exist as to whether the competition could successfully launch without the support of UEFA as the organization could resort to legal measures in order to prevent its inception so as to safeguard the UCL. 

This report comes just a week after Project Big Picture was made public. That proposal, also led by Man Utd and Liverpool, offered a much-needed bailout for the English Football League (EFL) but in return, would have secured more power for the top six and would have seen the English top-flight reduced from 20 teams to 18. However, the Red Devils and the Merseyside giants are not the only ones leading the charge for this FIFA-backed tournament as Florentino Perez's Real Madrid are said to have been "driving forces behind the latest project".

It should be noted that while the top teams – Barcelona, PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, etc – have likely been approached, clubs have not contractually committed to the European Premier League. As a result, several key details have not been finalized, meaning this proposal could still fall apart despite being in such an advanced stage.

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