European Super League: launch of new proposals for an open competition with up to 80 teams
The creators of the doomed European Super League have unveiled plans for a reformed version of the competition, featuring up to 80 teams in a multi-division format.
More than 50 clubs across the continent have reportedly been consulted by ESL’s Madrid sister company A22 on the proposed new tournament, which would feature no permanent members and guarantee each team 14 matches per season.
The ESL was originally launched in April 2021 and fell to its knees within days as nine of its 12 founding members, including all the six traditional Premier League greats, withered and pulled out amid intense backlash from fans, players and politicians.
Among the many criticisms of the tournament was its “closed workshop” structure, with permanent members who were to be freed from the threat of relegation and only a select few outsiders allowed participation by invitation.
The revamped ESL was billed as an open competition, with between 60 and 80 teams, although no details were provided on how promotion and relegation would be organised, or how a divisional structure would be organised. A22 also refused to reveal which clubs support the new plans.
ESL supporters, including holdout Barcelona clubs Juventus and Real Madrid, have renewed their criticism of UEFA’s monopoly on European competition in recent months, while decrying the growing dominance of the Premier League on the financial landscape, following an unprecedented January transfer window of spending by English clubs.
“It is the clubs that bear the entrepreneurial risk in football,” A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart wrote in German newspaper Die Welt. “But when it comes to big decisions, too often they are forced to sit idly by, with the sporting and financial foundations under their control.
“Our discussions have also made it clear that it is often impossible for clubs to make their voices heard publicly against a system that uses the threat of sanctions to prevent opposition.”