European Super League: Pep Guardiola says domestic competitions like Premier League must be protected


A document seen by The Times says the 15 founder clubs in the 20-team breakaway competition, slated to start in 2022-23, would be offered £310m each just to join and then up to £213m per season thereafter.

The Premier League‘s ‘big six’ – including Guardiola’s club Manchester City – are reported to be among the planned founder members, but the Catalan expressed fears about how any continental league might impact on domestic action.

“I have the feeling we cannot lose the local leagues, what it means for the FA Cup, the leagues,” he said. “What we should do is make every single league in Europe stronger than what it is, less teams, better championships, better League One, better League Two, better Premier League with less teams in every competition. Go to the quality over quantity.

“To make a super Premier League, you have to reduce the teams, but we cannot kill the lower divisions or the Premier League itself.”

Football’s world governing body Fifa and the six continental confederations have publicly rejected the breakaway competition, and the proposal’s stated intention that clubs would continue to play in their domestic league while playing in the Super League would not be allowed.

It is understood Milan’s focus remains on their relationship with Uefa and giving clubs a bigger say in European competition.

The proposals are not understood to be being driven with any involvement from the European Club Association.

The reports come at a time when agreement on the format for the Champions League from 2024 onwards appears closer than ever.

A Uefa proposal for a 32 or 36-team league, where each team plays 10 matches in a so-called Swiss system, is understood to be the favoured model, although it appears there remains some disagreement over how many clubs should qualify via Europe for the following season’s Champions League.

The European Leagues group, which is part of the discussions on format, has opposed the idea of the four semi-finalists qualifying for the next season, and has publicly stated it should continue to only be the winners who qualify that way.

It does appear to have accepted the idea of 10 European matches in the autumn though compared to the current six group stage games.

Explained

Details of a proposed 20-team European Super League have been published, leading to a renewed debate about the future of top-level club football on the continent.

Here we examine the issue more closely.

Where has this come from?

Super League breakaway proposals always tend to emerge at the time when a new format for Uefa’s Champions League competition is being negotiated, which is the case this time as well. It is understood the project is being led by Real Madrid and its president Florentino Perez, while one source said that AC Milan and Manchester United were also “torchbearers” for the new concept. Sources close to the Premier League club say they are not one of the driving forces behind the published proposal.

United’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, said last November: “We are at the centre of discussions about the future of European club competitions. Most of my time in this regard is focused…on the strengthening of existing Uefa club competitions.”

Before the Times report was published, FIFA and the six continental confederations issued a statement saying that no such Super League would be officially recognised and that any players involved would be barred from playing in official events such as World Cups and European Championships. PA also understands the Super League’s stated intention of its clubs continuing to play in their domestic leagues at the weekend would not be permitted.

What would this mean for the Champions League?

If it went ahead, it would effectively be the end of Uefa’s flagship competition. The format of the Champions League from 2024 onwards remains under discussion, though consensus is understood to be forming around a 36-team league where each team plays 10 matches under the so-called ‘Swiss system’. One area where agreement is yet to be reached appears to be around how many teams secure qualification for the following season’s Champions League via their European performance – the European Leagues group insists this should remain limited to the competition winners.

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As with Project Big Picture, it will be interesting to see if any of Europe’s top clubs go on the record to support or reject the concept, or whether the final format for the new-look Champions League satisfies the likes of Real Madrid and ends the Super League debate – for a few years at least.



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