The organizers of the European Super League (ESL) have unveiled a revamped competition with “60 to 80 teams,” they announced in a statement on Thursday.
The ESL was set up in 2021 by 12 European clubs with the intention to break away from European football’s governing body UEFA to create their very own competition.
But it collapsed within 48 hours after launching as UEFA vowed to stop the “cynical project” and world football governing body FIFA threatened to expel clubs from international competitions, which coincided with fan outrage across Europe.
The renewed efforts to revive the ESL by A22 Sports Management, the company formed to assist the tournament’s creation, follows a decision by the Madrid High Court last month to restore the injunction issued in 2021 to protect the Super League, its clubs and participants from sanctions by UEFA and FIFA, and its affiliated Federations and Leagues.
“Clubs bear all entrepreneurial risks but too often are forced to sit on the side-lines when key decisions are made, and they are watching their sporting and financial foundations crumble,” A22 CEO Bernd Reichart said in a statement, which outlined 10 principles of a revamped football league Thursday.
Reichart claimed to have spoken to nearly 50 European clubs and stakeholders, adding “the vast majority of them share the assessment that the very foundation of European football is under threat, and it is time for change.”
“A European football league should be an open, multi-divisional competition with 60 to 80 teams, allowing for sustainable distribution of revenues across the pyramid,” he said.
Chelsea fans gather to protest the introduction of the European Super League in April 2021 in London.Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images
Reichart added that each team will have “a minimum of 14 guaranteed European matches” per season while they continue to play in their domestic leagues.
In December 2022, an EU Opinion by Advocate General Athanasios Rantos at the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) said: “The FIFA-UEFA rules under which any new competition is subject to prior approval are compatible with EU competition law.”
The matter is still before the CJEU with a ruling expected in the coming months.
“Our objective is to present a sustainable sporting project for European club competitions available to, at a minimum, all 27 EU Member States as soon as possible after receipt of the judgment,” Reichart added.
The European Clubs Association (ECA), who work with over 245 clubs across Europe, said in a statement Thursday: “In the real world, this rehashed idea has already been proposed, discussed and comprehensively rejected by all stakeholders.
“This is just another deliberately distorted and misleading attempt to de-stabilise the constructive work currently taking place between football’s real stakeholders to move things forward in the overall best interests of the European club game.”