A Madrid company involved in the continued push to create a pan-European football competition announced its new vision for the European Super League on Thursday.
“We have spoken to nearly 50 European clubs and other stakeholders. The vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat. It is time for change,” said A22 Sports’ CEO Bernd Reichart in a video posted on Twitter.
In 2021, a group of football executives announced the formation of the breakaway Super League. The league was to be contested by 20 European football clubs, including 12 “founding members” that would have remained in the tournament permanently.
Despite saying it had the initial backing of 12 of football’s top teams, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid, widespread opposition caused the Super League to suspend operations just three days after it was made public.
Fans, political leaders, and other clubs slammed the project for elitism, arguing it would be unfair to smaller teams.
The new proposal, unveiled Thursday, now envisions a “broad-based and meritocratic competition” that would involve between 60 and 80 teams. in an “open, multi-divisional competition.” There would be no permanent members, according to A22.
The plan also highlights that clubs participating in the tournament should remain “fully committed to domestic tournaments.”
Reichart argues that Europe’s football teams are in financial trouble and that a Europe-wide league would give them a stable and predictable revenue stream.
However, not everyone is buying the new attempt.
“The Super League is the wolf, who today disguises himself as a granny to try to fool European football. But HIS nose and HIS teeth are very big. Four divisions in Europe?” tweeted Spain’s La Liga President Javier Tebas.
He said there would be different divisions, with the top division dominated by the elite clubs.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus are the three football teams that remain actively committed to advancing the vision for the Super League, according to the Spanish daily El Pais.
Legal proceedings could also heavily determine what happens with this new attempt at the Super League.
After the original announcement of the proposed competition, UEFA and FIFA said teams or players tied to the Super League could be barred from major tournaments such as the World Cup or Champions League.
A22 challenged those threats and warnings in the European court of justice, arguing the football bodies were abusing their dominant position in the EU market.
The Court of Justice of the European Union is set to issue a final ruling on the case this year. But in December, the court’s senior legal adviser sided with FIFA and UEFA, saying they were within their right to impose sanctions on clubs that join a competing league.
A similar story played out in the world of golf last year when the Saudi-backed LIV tour began recruiting players from the mainstream PGA league.
Amid controversy, the PGA said any golfers who entered the new league would be barred from all PGA events. Even so, several of the top PGA players defected to the LIV tour and resigned from the PGA, as they were said to be guaranteed significantly more money.