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Is Football’s European Super League Back On the Table?

Football on Glossy SurfaceIt was originally voted down in a blaze of fury back in April 2021.

But football’s breakaway competition, the European Super League (ESL), appears to be readying another attempt at wooing the beautiful game’s leading clubs after appointing a new CEO.

A22 Sports Management, who are effectively the company leading the ESL proposal, have appointed Bernd Reichart to oversee a renaissance of the project into 2023.

He will be tasked with presenting a blueprint that gets more of the continent’s leading clubs on-side. Back in 2021, 12 teams initially agreed to take part in the European Super League, including both Manchester teams, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as a score of continental giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona.

So fierce was the backlash from supporters, rival clubs and governors that nine of the dirty dozen withdrew from the ESL, and so Reichart will be mandated to bring those back on board while adding more interest to the rebel competition.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are very much still on board with the ESL, and they have reiterated their desire to build a more ‘sustainable sporting model for European club competitions.’

The A22 website has published a manifesto for change in the way European football is run, claiming:

  • Youngsters are losing interest in football, and the Champions League campaign is too long
  • Too many Champions League matches will be played following the tournament’s expansion
  • Higher attendances will lead to cheaper TV subscription packages
  • Clubs are spending too much money – the ESL would introduced sustainability caps

They want to pair the best teams against one another in a traditional league format, claiming the Champions League ‘is not living up to its potential by not offering the best matches, week after week.’

Critics of the European Super League believe that the small cartel of clubs involved instead plan to centralise revenue and commercial interest to the 12 founder members of the ESL.

Monopoly Money

Wooden Gavel on Top of Euro Banknotes

In an ironic twist, ESL chiefs – who effectively want to end the democratisation of European football – have claimed that UEFA has been running a ‘monopoly’ for too long.

“UEFA has been the sole body governing European club competitions for nearly 70 years,” A22 argue.

“Clubs have no voting rights in UEFA, which has 55 members, and are only indirectly represented by associations which have 2 of 20 seats on the UEFA Executive Committee.”

And so they have decided to take the governing body to court, claiming that UEFA is an ‘illegal’ institution under competition law due to its alleged monopoly power.

The legal matter has passed all the way up to the Court of Justice of the European Union, and their judgement on the case is expected at some time during 2023.

If the CJEU decides that UEFA is an illegal entity, it will have significant ramifications for their position of power in European football – and open the door for more potential rebels like the European Super League to come along.