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New European Super League boss claims breakaway competition could start in just THREE years under new format

Rory O'Callaghan

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New European Super League boss claims breakaway competition could start in just THREE years under new format

The new boss of the failed European Super League (ESL) project expects it to relaunch in just three years' time.

In April of last year, European football was rocked when 12 elite clubs – including Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – announced they had agreed to establish a breakaway competition to challenge the Champions League.

Following an angry backlash from supporters plus opposition from UEFA and other governing bodies, the 'Big Six' Premier League clubs withdrew from the league, followed by Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and AC Milan.

Despite the controversial project collapsing in a matter of days, the league has continued to operate as a corporate entity backed by the three remaining member clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.

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A22 Sports Management, a company representing the Super League clubs, is planning to revive the competition.

Bernd Reichart was appointed as A22's new chief executive on Tuesday and has been tasked with opening an "active and extended dialogue" across football, with the eventual aim of creating a new "sustainable sporting model" for European football.

"We want to reach out to stakeholders in the European football community and broaden this vision. Even fans will have a lot of sympathy for the idea," Reichart revealed in an interview with the Financial Times.

"It is a blank slate. Format will never be an obstacle."

The original ESL project collapsed after fierce opposition from fans (Image: Alamy)
The original ESL project collapsed after fierce opposition from fans (Image: Alamy)

Under the original plans, the 12 elite clubs that announced the breakaway ESL would have been granted guaranteed involvement regardless of their domestic league performance.

This 'closed shop' approach received widespread criticism across football and Reichart has admitted changes would need to be made to the format for the league to succeed.

"There is a reassessment. There is a clearly stated move towards an open format and that permanent membership is off the table," Reichart added.

"We want to see whether or not there is broader consensus about the problems facing European football."

The three remaining ESL clubs are currently involved in legal action against UEFA and have accused the governing body of operating a monopoly in European football.

The ESL claim both UEFA and FIFA broke European Union competition law by opposing its creation.

The 'Big Six' Premier League clubs withdrew from the project just days after its launch (Image: Alamy)
The 'Big Six' Premier League clubs withdrew from the project just days after its launch (Image: Alamy)

UEFA, meanwhile, has branded the ESL a "threat to European football" and "a textbook example of a cartel".

The case is currently with the European Court of Justice, with a formal ruling expected next spring.

Despite the fierce opposition to the original plans and the legal barriers still to overcome, Reichart says it is a "reasonable" expectation that a revised ESL could launch in time for the 2024/25 season.

"European soccer is losing its leading role in world sports, and clubs are lagging behind in terms of their opportunities," Reichart told Reuters.

"The system has become quite unstable, it isn't self-sustainable anymore. I think the clubs should be able to decide their fate, as they also bear all the (financial) risk. Most clubs agree that it can't go on like that."

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid

Rory O'Callaghan
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