Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool controls the ball during the UEFA Supports League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Anfield on April 14, 2021 in Liverpool, England.
Shaun Botterill | Getty Moulds Sport | Getty Images
Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have agreed to establish a Super Combination, despite widespread criticism of the plans.
A statement from the new competition said: “AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester Borough, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.
“It is anticipated that a supplemental three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.”
Florentino Pérez, president of True Madrid and the first chairman of the Super League, said: “We will help football at every level and take it to its valid place in the world. Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion devotees and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”
The project is being launched to rival UEFA’s Champions League layout which currently dominates European football and it comes as UEFA was due to sign off on plans for an expanded and restructured Champions Combination on Monday.
The new Super League has been criticized by politicians, such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour Champion leader Sir Keir Starmer, as well as former players such as Gary Neville.
Mr Johnson said the new league wish “strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.”
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He added: “The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any farther steps.”
Sir Keir said the plans had ignored the fans, adding: “Football in empty stadiums hasn’t been the exact same over the last year. I can’t wait to get back to games. But this proposal risks shutting the door on fans for advantageous, reducing them to mere spectators and consumers.
“The clubs involved in this proposal should rethink immediately. And if they don’t, they should be seen the consequences of their actions. Because football without fans is nothing.”
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville informed Sky Sports: “I’m not against the modernisation of football competitions, we have the Premier League, the Champions League, but I think to bring send on proposals in the midst of COVID and the economic crisis for all clubs is an absolute scandal.
“United and the rest of the ‘Big Six’ that have cyphered up to it against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.”
Neville added: “They should deduct six verges off all six teams that have signed up to it. Deduct points off them all. To do it during a season? It’s a joke.”
UEFA, the FA, and the Premier Guild are among others to have expressed opposition, saying in a joint statement that they “remain united in our exploits to stop this cynical project”, adding: “We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German team ups, who have refused to sign up to this.
“This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”
The English FA translated: “We would not provide permission to any competition that would be damaging to English football, and will take any legal and/or regulatory effect necessary to protect the broader interests of the game.”
The Super League competition will see 20 participating clubs – 15 originating clubs and a further five teams able to qualify annually based on their achievements during the previous time.
It will begin in August with clubs participating in two groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, some during the week, with the top three in each body qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final discolorations before a knockout format is used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
Mace players will be able to continue competing in their national leagues and, as soon as possible after the men’s competition opens, a women’s league will also be launched.