The European Super League (ESL) has once again become a topic of intense discussion in the world of football. This resurgence comes after a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that banning clubs from joining the league was unlawful. This ruling has breathed new life into the controversial project, which was initially met with widespread opposition from fans, players, managers, politicians, and other football clubs when it was first announced in April 2021.
The resurgence of the ESL is primarily due to the recent ECJ ruling. The court found that UEFA and FIFA had abused their dominant position by forbidding clubs outright to compete in an ESL. This ruling has been seen as a significant victory for the backers of the Super League, opening the door to a fresh push for a future breakaway.
The Madrid-based company A22, which is behind the original Super League plan, has proposed a new format for the competition. This includes a 64-team, three-division men's competition and a 32-team competition for women.
The initial announcement of the ESL in April 2021 was met with widespread opposition. Fans, players, managers, politicians, and other football clubs, particularly in England, voiced their concerns. The recent resurgence has also been met with skepticism and opposition.
Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester City have all stated that they remain committed to UEFA competitions. Bayern Munich has also stated that "the door for the Super League remains closed." Fan groups have reacted angrily to the prospect of the European Super League, calling it the “ultimate betrayal” and “cynical greed”. The first iteration of the Super League in 2021 was deeply unpopular with English fans, and A22 faces a significant PR battle to convince supporters of the merits of any new competition it proposes.
The potential impact of the ESL on football is significant. The proposed league would effectively replace the Champions League, Europe's elite club tournament, and could impact domestic leagues given the guaranteed entry of teams regardless of their success in national competitions.
The ruling by the ECJ could lead to more breakaway proposals, potentially changing the face of European football. However, it's important to note that the court's decision does not make a Super League inevitable.
Several clubs and individuals have publicly stated their positions on the Super League. Manchester United and Bayern Munich have issued statements saying they remain committed to UEFA's competitions. On the other hand, Real Madrid and Barcelona have been leading the fight to get the new competition off the ground. Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said he remains convinced that a Super League would be launched within two years.
The European Super League (ESL) is a proposed football competition involving some of Europe's biggest clubs. The concept, first launched in 2021, was met with significant opposition from fans, football's governing bodies, and other clubs, leading to its collapse within days of being announced. However, the ESL has recently resurfaced following a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that deemed UEFA and FIFA's ban on the league as unlawful.
The original format of the ESL proposed a "closed shop" competition involving 20 top clubs, 15 of which would be founding members with permanent positions, and 5 that would qualify annually. However, the recent resurgence of the ESL has brought with it a new format proposed by A22 Sports, the company behind the league.
The new format involves a three-division system with a total of 64 teams. The men's competition would consist of two leagues, the "Star" and "Gold" leagues, each with 16 clubs, and a third "Blue League" made up of 32 clubs. There would be promotion and relegation between these leagues, with access to the Blue League based on domestic league performance. Clubs would play in groups of eight, home and away, with a minimum of 14 matches per year, played midweek. At the end of each season, a knockout stage of eight clubs would decide the champions of each league.
In addition to the men's competition, A22 Sports has also proposed a two-league, 32-club women's competition.
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