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Premier League clubs in breakaway talks

Last updated: November 6, 2018 by Leon Marshal

Top European football Clubs have allegedly held secret talks about breaking away from their domestic leagues to form a new European Super League, according to German publication Der Spiegel. Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City are alleged to be considering quitting the Premier League.

The new league, according to the report, is set to commence in 2021 featuring sixteen teams that would break away from their domestic leagues. The new proposal is a bold move to break away from the governance of UEFA in a bid increase their income. This news comes on the verge of talks over next year’s Champions League rights and distribution of prize money in the new cycle from 2021.

Logos of: Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal

According to Der Spiegel, the league would consist of sixteen teams with eleven founding members that could not be relegated for a period of twenty years; England’s Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City, Spain’s giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, France’s Paris Saint Germain, Italy’s Juventus and AC Milan, and Germany’s Bayern Munich.

The remaining five ‘guest’ slots according to the article have been offered to Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Olympique Marseille, Inter Milan, and Roma. These teams wouldn’t have the protection afforded to the founding members and could face relegation.

UK Government will oppose plans

The idea has faced great opposition from the UK Government saying that it would threaten the culture of sport in England. A senior Whitehall source said the Government was in the dark over the reports but would “fully oppose” any breaking up of the Premier League.

Of course, this discussion about forming a breakaway league is not new, stretching back over a decade. The last time the talks came up saw UEFA offer more Champions League slots to English teams. This time, the likelihood Is that UEFA will offer more money to the clubs, hoping to kill the conversation.

The current UEFA rules do not allow for this new league with Article 49 stating that UEFA shall have the sole jurisdiction to organise or abolish international competitions in Europe in which Member Associations and/or their clubs compete……International matches, competitions or tournaments which are not organised by UEFA but are played on UEFA’s territory shall require the prior approval of FIFA and/or UEFA…….Excerpt from UEFA Statutes.

Therefore for this new competition to take place something drastic needs to happen which would change the face of European football forever. The clubs could take the NFA route and the clubs would take control of every element. This includes being in charge of the rules of the game, no IFAB or FIFA involvement, creating what is in effect a de facto outlaw league.

UEFA and FIFA, who will be the biggest losers if the big teams press ahead with their secret plans, are set to use the option of banning the players who play in the new league. This would mean the players won’t represent their respective countries in the World Cup and European Championships.

As non-European super league clubs will be operating under the FIFA umbrella, they would be banned from playing against ESL teams, even in friendly matches. Players may be forced to decide if they wish to play in the ESL or in UEFA games, FIFA may also issue lifelong bans for any player participating in the ESL.

These scenarios are not new in sport, cricket has endured similar issues and many of us will remember the rebel tour of South Africa which despite national cricket boards and governments being firmly against the tour, many players took part despite the threat of sanctions.

Another example is in the world of darts when Eric Bristow and several other players split from the governing body to form the PDC (professional darts council) in 1993. This split was incredibly hostile with threats of lifetime bans for all involved.

Downplaying the deal

The talks over a breakaway league have been held in secret with even the Premier League stating surprise with the leaked information airing out. Bayern Munich chairman, Heinz Rummenigge, who is also the chairman of the European Club Association, has allegedly explored the legal complexities of a breakaway despite a club statement that denied their involvement in the so-called Super League.

Liverpool declined to give an official club statement but Jurgen Klopp expressed his satisfaction in the current league structure. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United have refused to comment on the allegations. Borussia Dortmund has surprisingly confirmed the conversations about it but have said the plans were not very concrete.

The leaked documents also accuse Man City and PSG of brokering secret deals with FIFA president, Gianni Infantine. The report claims that Infantine intervened for them to avoid possible financial fair play sanctions.