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European Super League: Everything you need to know

Here's everything you need to know about the European Super League and why everyone is united against it

April 19, 2021 By Ali M.
The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, and Man United unveiled this new breakaway competition, casting the entire footballing world into chaos.

Ever since it was confirmed on Sunday, one thing and one thing only has been dominating the headlines: the European Super League. The highly-controversial tournament, which has been a bad-kept secret, was finally made official, with 12 clubs confirming their spots in the competition. 

This league, which will be financed by American bank JP Morgan and their offer of $5 billion, will be a closed tournament, with the majority of the participants granted entry every year regardless of their league finish due to their status in the beautiful game.

This has not gone down well with many, garnering worldwide criticism. Here's everything you need to know about the European Super League and why everyone is united against it.

Who are the founding members?

So far, 12 founding members have been announced. They are: 

  1. Arsenal

  2. Chelsea

  3. Liverpool

  4. Manchester City

  5. Manchester United

  6. Tottenham

  7. AC Milan

  8. Inter Milan

  9. Juventus

  10. Atletico Madrid

  11. Barcelona

  12. Real Madrid

This list has brought about much controversy as four of the 12 founding members have never won the UEFA Champions League – Arsenal, Tottenham, Man City, and Atletico. 

When will the European Super League kick off?

This remains unclear. The joint statement made by the 12 Founding Clubs states that the tournament "is intended to commence as soon as practicable". Given that Europe elite clubs are losing money like crazy, and this new competition would help offset the financial crisis brought on by COVID-19, expect all parties to get this competition running as soon as possible.

Why is the European Super League such a big deal?

Well, this is a newly-stablished league that will be regulated by the Founding Clubs. Furthermore, it's a breakaway midweek tournament set to rival the UEFA Champions League. The involved clubs will not take part in the UCL and have thus left the European Clubs Association (ECA). Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli stepped down as president of the ECA and the UEFA Executive Committee, being replaced by PSG's Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Bayern's Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in those respective roles.

How will the European Super League work?

The European Super League will be contested "between 20 top clubs comprised of 15 founders and five annual qualifiers". The 20 teams will be split into two groups of 10 and will follow a double round-robin system, meaning the teams in each group will face off twice, once at home and once away.

The top three teams in each group qualify straight for the quarterfinals while those that finish in fourth and fifth will compete in a two-legged playoff for the two remaining last-eight tickets. Once the knockout stage commences, it will follow a format identical to that in the UCL, with teams facing off across two legs in the quarterfinals and semis, with the final being a one-off game at a neutral venue. 

Will more clubs be able to join the European Super League?

Yes. 12 founders have been unveiled but there are an additional three spots left, with those vacancies presumably being held for the likes of Bayern Munich and PSG. Furthermore, the tournament will host five annual qualifiers who will be granted entry based on their domestic league performance in the prior season.

Are there teams who have rejected the European Super League?

Yes, and European heavyweights Bayern Munich are one of them. In fact, no Bundesliga team has approved this league, with Dortmund and RB Leipzig slamming this new competition. Furthermore, Porto president Pinto da Costa confirmed that his team were extended an invitation but rejected the offer.

What are some of the threats against clubs participating in the European Super League?

The European Super League is intended to be a midweek competition working alongside the domestic leagues, but that might not be the case. The likes of the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, and other have threatened to expel teams from the domestic leagues should they take part in the ESL.

Man City, Chelsea, Man United, and Arsenal are in risk of being expelled from the ongoing UCL and UEL campaigns 

Furthermore, FIFA said back in January that this breakaway tournament would not be recognized by football's world governing body, meaning that "any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organized by FIFA or their respective confederation".

Will players be banned from international football for competing in the European Super League?

Bans from the European Championship, Copa America, and more importantly, the FIFA World Cup have been mentioned for players who participate in the European Super League. But will this go through? FIFPro, the worldwide representative organization for professional footballers, announced in an official statement that they will oppose World Cup and national competitions ban for players who partake in the ESL.

"Players continue to be used as assets and leverage in these negotiations. This is unacceptable for FIFPRO, our 64 national player associations and the 60,000 players we represent," an official statement read "We will vigorously oppose measures by either side that would impede the rights of players, such as exclusion from their national teams.

"In the best interests of players, and the whole industry, we are committed to working with all stakeholders towards decisions that support all levels of the game and repair its existing flaws."

What has been the reaction on social media?

The reaction has been unanimous, with fans, former players and managers, pundits, and club executives all joining hands in condemning this move. Highly-respected names such as Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger did not hide their distaste for this plan. Check out the best responses in the tweets below.

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