European Super League: What is it and why is it so controversial?

19 April 2021, 11:54 | Updated: 19 April 2021, 14:17

The European Super League is being created to rival the European Champions League
The European Super League is being created to rival the European Champions League. Picture: PA

By Sam Sholli

Six English teams have made the decision to agree to join a new European Super League (ESL) as founding members - but what is the proposal and why is it so controversial?

Here is everything you need to know about the new planned league.

What is the European Super League?

The competition is being created to rival the European Champions League, which at present is Europe's biggest cup competition.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are the English clubs who have announced their intention to join the breakaway league.

A statement from the new competition said: "AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.

"It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable."

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How would the competition work?

The new Super League website states: "The Super League is a new European competition between 20 top clubs comprised of 15 founders and five annual qualifiers.

"There will be two groups of 10 clubs each, playing home and away fixtures within the group each year.

"Following the group stage, eight clubs will qualify for a knockout tournament, playing home and away until the single-match Super League championship, in a dramatic four-week end to the season.

"Games will be played midweek, and all clubs will remain in their domestic leagues."

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Why is the idea controversial?

Fans have criticised the competition because it wouldn't incorporate promotion and relegation in the same way other leagues do, as only a few spots available each year for teams which are not founding members,

Critics as a result are suggesting the clubs involved are forming the league in a bid to close competition as part of a power grab to make more money.

What has the reaction been?

FIFA, the body in charge of world football, has said that any players involved in it could be barred from playing at World Cups.

UEFA, which is the body in charge of European football, has reacted by saying that European Super League players will be banned from all other competitions at domestic, European or world level.

The European football body also said that players involved will be banned from representing their national teams, such as during the World Cup or European Championship.

A joint statement from UEFA, the FA, the Premier League, La Liga, the Spanish Football Federation, Serie A and the Italian Football Federation, said they will "remain united" in attempting to halt the breakaway.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said: "Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action.

"They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country.

"The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps."