What's happening now with the European Super League?

Debodinna Chakraborty
Debodinna ChakrabortyDec 22, 2023 | 13:54

What's happening now with the European Super League?

The European Super League is raising the wind again in the football world. (Photo: Getty, Real Madrid)

After more than two years since the controversial European Super League (ESL) proposal, the ESL has resurfaced in football discussions due to a landmark ruling by the European Union's Court of Justice.

What is happening?

  • On Thursday, The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg stated that FIFA and UEFA, the global and European governing bodies, had unfairly exercised their power.
  • They were accused of threatening Super League clubs and players, potentially leading to sanctions and exclusion from major competitions.
  • The court also declared rules necessitating prior approval for "interclub football projects" as "unlawful."
  • Moreover, it found that the exclusive control of these organizations in negotiating commercial rights for competitions was viewed as restricting trade.
  • Real Madrid, under the leadership of club president Florentino Perez, welcomed the news enthusiastically, as they have been the primary driving force behind implementing the competition

The clubs involved

  • Manchester United was the first English club to confirm support for the current setup with UEFA and explicitly stated that they have no interest in joining the ESL.
  • Subsequently, Manchester City, Tottenham, and Chelsea echoed similar sentiments. However, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Inter Milan, initially part of the 12, distanced themselves from the ESL
  • Except for Real Madrid and Barcelona, no other club expressed interest in joining the Super League.

What is the Super League?

  • The ESL, proposed on April 18, 2021, envisioned a seasonal soccer competition for elite European club teams.
  • Real Madrid, Manchester United, Juventus, and nine other prominent teams from England, Italy, and Spain were part of this proposal.
  • The initial plan outlined a 20-team tournament, ensuring fixed positions for 15 founding clubs. The objective was to replace the UEFA-run Champions League, Europe's premier club competition.
  • In the Champions League, team entry is based on merit, usually determined by domestic league standings, without guaranteed spots.

What happened last time?

  • In 2021, when plans for the European Super League were announced, widespread protests by football fans and even professional players erupted, denouncing the league.
  • Within a few days of its announcement, the majority of the partnering teams, such as Paris Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund, and Tottenham Hotspur, withdrew their support, causing the league formation to come to a halt.

New plans for ESL

  • The tournament will include both men's and women's competitions, focussing on sporting merit and without permanent members. 
  • The competition will be available on a new digital platform, hosting 64 men's and 32 women's teams playing matches across Europe during the midweek.
  • For the men's competition, there will be three leagues: Star, Gold, and Blue, encompassing a total of 64 teams. The top tiers, Star and Gold, will each consist of 16 teams, while the lower-tier Blue League will comprise 32 teams, intended to foster diverse participation.
  • The women's tournament will feature 32 teams, following a similar format as the men's. In the Star and Gold Leagues, there will be 16 teams each. Subsequently, clubs will be organized into sets of eight before progressing to the knockout stage.
Last updated: December 22, 2023 | 13:54
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