The big six of English football have signed letters of intent to join a new European Super League, which will be announced at 9.30pm on Sunday night.
Manchester City were the last to agree, on Saturday, joining Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham in the breakaway, which will spell the end of competition in domestic and European football as we know it.
The new league represents the American takeover of elite European football, which will become a closed shop run by its founder members. It is bankrolled by US banking giant JP Morgan and is the brainchild of Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and the American owners of three leading English clubs.
UEFA’s Champions League is under serious threat of a breakaway league of the top teams
It is believed Perez will hold the chairman’s role in the new league’s structure, with Liverpool’s John W. Henry, Joel Glazer of Manchester United and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke as vice-chairmen. Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus, and believed until now to be an ally of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin will occupy the fourth vice-chairman role. Ceferin is understood to be furious at Agnelli’s betrayal, the news of which comes less than 24 hours before UEFA’s own proposals for a revamped Champions League.
The plan is for the Super League to evolve to roughly 15-18 teams, but the initial 12 signatories to the deal are the six English clubs, plus Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid from Spain, and Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan from Italy. This leaves room for other major clubs, such as Bayern Munich and Paris St Germain, to be picked off with UEFA’s own competitions hopelessly devalued.
Liverpool and Tottenham are said to be among the teams to have agreed to the new project
The Premier League are aware of the agreement and have spent the weekend formulating their response. The six clubs are not intending to resign from domestic football, but need Premier League permission to join any new competitions.
This could be the first sticking point because the Premier League board is unlikely to grant any request that weakens its own competitive value.
It does not need to be put to a vote of the 20 clubs, but goes before the Premier League board comprising Gary Hoffman (chair), Richard Masters (chief executive) and Kevin Beeston (non-executive director).
If they say no to the European Super League, as expected, the clubs will have to be break away from the Premier League entirely in order to join, putting in jeopardy their players’ participation in UEFA and FIFA competitions, such as the World Cup and European Championships.
Yet the Premier League no longer believe this to be more brinkmanship in the battle for control of Champions League monies and make-up. JP Morgan are believed to be debt financing the new league to the tune of £4.6 billion, which is set against future broadcast revenue.
It is now reported that only Man City are left from the traditional English Big Six yet to sign up