The controversial European Super League was given new hopes of a revival following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice.
However, Premier League clubs may still be unable to join the breakaway competition.
The Grand Chamber of the ECJ ruled that Fifa and Uefa abused their dominant position by forbidding clubs outright to compete in a ESL, but added that the Super League may still not be approved.
Sports development company A22, formed to assist in the creation of the ESL, had claimed that the governing bodies held a monopoly position which was in breach of the EU’s Competition and Free Movement Law.
“We have won the right to compete. The Uefa-monopoly is over. Football is free,” said A22 CEO Bernd Reichart. “Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures,” Reichard added in a statement.
Here’s everything we know so far about the new European Super League:
Will Premier League clubs be able to join?
It appears as though Premier League clubs will not be able to join, even if the new proposal does get approved.
The UK government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport released a statement that indicated a bill about to pass into law, which sets up a new independent football regulator, would make it illegal for British clubs to join a breakaway league.
“The attempt to create a breakaway competition was a defining moment in English football and was universally condemned by fans, clubs and the Government,” said a DCMS spokesperson.
“We took decisive action at the time by triggering the fan-led review of football governance, which called for the creation of a new independent regulator for English football. We will shortly be bringing forward legislation that makes this a reality, and will stop clubs from joining any similar breakaway competitions in the future.”
The UK is no longer bound by EU law since Brexit, so clubs would not be able to appeal to the European Court of Justice.
Manchester United issued a resolute statement against the breakaway: “Our position has not changed. We remain fully committed to participation in UEFA competitions, and to positive cooperation with UEFA, the Premier League, and fellow clubs through the ECA on the continued development of the European game.”
What would the new European Super League look like?
Following the landmark judgement, A22, the company backing the European Super League live-streamed a video where it laid out its plans for the new men’s and women’s competitions.
The new proposed men’s competition is a three-tier structure with 64 teams taking part, chief executive officer Bernd Reichart repeatedly insisted that there would be no permanent members
The 64 teams would be split into three tiers, slightly uninspiringly called Star, Gold and Blue. The top tier or ‘star’ league would have 16 teams, as would Gold, while Blue would have 32 teams.
The top two tiers would have two groups of eight with each team playing 14 matches, seven home and seven away, with the top four from each group going into a two-legged quarter and semi-final stage before a final on a neutral venue.
The Blue League would comprise 32 teams in four groups of eight with the top two of each going into the two-legged quarters and semi-finals stage.
How would teams qualify?
It is unclear how teams would be initially allocated into the leagues, but once there, the bottom two from the top league would be replaced by the second-tier finalists. The same would be the case between the ‘gold’ and ‘blue’ leagues. While for the third-tier, 20 of the 32 clubs will leave the competition altogether, replaced by those merited on domestic performance.
What about the women’s competition?
Well, the women’s one is similar to the men’s but without the third tier essentially, so would comprise of 32 teams across two tiers.
But when it comes to relegation, again the bottom two from the top league would be replaced by the finalists of the one below. While in that league, four clubs would leave and be replaced by others based on domestic league performances.
How will people watch it?
Assuming the project goes ahead, and there is as of yet, no assurances of that, Reichart explained all matches would be on a new streaming platform called Unify.
The idea would be free-to-air matches and highlights funded by advertising, although Reichart also mentioned other services which offer a paid option to bypass advertising.