Who would have guessed that the days of the good old Champions League are numbered? The European Super League is finally here and oh boy has there been a backlash! Here is everything you need to know about the newly-formed competition and its founding members.
Football is the game we all love and cherish. It has been with us for more than a century and people have grown up watching the best of the best face each other in absolute nail-biters. The thrill of watching football has never faded and in fact has managed to increase year in year out with new ideas for better competition systems and better refereeing conditions being introduced into the game we love every once in a while.
The famousChampions League
that we love was not even formed a couple of decades ago and the European competition was something else entirely. Everything is destined to change some day and that is a part of life. But the recent big change that came as a true shock to many was the formation of a new competition called the “European Super League” by a number of Europe’s top leagues, which left out many other clubs hanging without having the chance to prove themselves.
The last year-and-a-half has been unimaginably difficult for everyone due to obvious reasons. That is why some of the richer clubs in Europe have decided to take matters into their own hands and create a totally independent and exclusive league to obviously make more money in the process. So what is the European Super League really? How will it go down? Who will be playing in the competition? When will it start?
Follow us below as we go through all the information you might need to know about the 2021 European Super League or shortly the ESL that might come to replace UCL and UEL (UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League).
Here we will discuss how the idea of a
European Super League
came to fruition and also take a look at the history of the founding clubs, as their previous history might get to become a clean slate as UEFA and FIFA have both opened cases against the founding members of the independent Super League.
The idea of having the best of the best in Europe play regular football against each other instead of competing against weaker underdogs, who in fact get to surprise many with dramatic wins against the stronger sides, is not something new, as something similar was actually proposed by Italian company Media Partners way back in 1998. Back then UEFA was forced to make changes and completely reform the Cup Winners’ Cup, which gave birth to the Champions League we all love and adore.
Other proposals were also made down the line, with Florentino Perez initially proposing the idea of a new Super League after criticizing the Champions League in 2009. Even then theReal Madrid
director had stated that he would force a break-away competition consisting of the continent’s most elite teams.
UEFA did in fact get to make more changes to the system of the UEFA Champions League in 2016, which allowed more teams from Europe’s top leagues to directly qualify for the competition instead of playing in the qualifiers, which took away the little chance that smaller teams had of ever appearing on Europe’s top stage.
It was officially announced on 19 April, 2021, that a new competition has been formed and will be called the European Super League, which consists of 12 founding clubs, to which three more will be added, plus an additional five non-founding teams who will be competing to stay in the league while the other founding members are perpetually a part of the Super League. The very first chairman of the Super League is no other than Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who will be accompanied by two vice-chairmen, includingJuventus
director Andrea Agnelli andManchester United
co-chairman Joel Glazer.
The newly founded league will have midweek fixtures and the clubs will be able to continue playing in their respective domestic leagues in order to preserve the domestic match calendar that that is already in use.
The 2021 European Super League is expected to officially start in August of the same year with clubs taking part in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures in a round-robin system. The top three clubs in each group will then automatically qualify for the quarterfinals and the fourth and fifth teams will have to face each other in a two-legged play-off to qualify for the remaining spots left in the quarterfinals.
The knockout round will be just like the Champions League and a two-legged knockout format will be used to have the two finalists reach the final at the end of May, with the final being held as a single fixture at a neutral stadium.
Perhaps the twelve founding members of the
European Super League
were expecting the world-wide backlash to be caused after announcing their independent and exclusive competition which aims to further help the top clubs in Europe regarding their financial matters. However, many will surely debate about whether it was all worth the tremendous amount of backlash from the footballing society.
Many clubs, the media, many footballing greats, commentators, pundits, politicians and most importantly football fans have since gathered together online in protest against the creation of such an elitist and unfair competition for the bigger and richer clubs in Europe. The news has caused quite the controversy as people are divided into two unequal groups of for and against the newly-found European Super League.
While some believe that it is high time bigger clubs in Europe got to go on into their very own exclusive leagues to generate more money and further improve the quality of the game, many others believe the start of the competition to be the end of football as we know it, claiming that the beautiful game was created by the poor and will now be destroyed by the rich.
While some aspects of their belief might be a tad bit dramatic, it seems that their concerns are justified, as smaller teams in Europe will now have little to no chance of ever qualifying for the Super League, opting to stay in the previous formats that will surely feel empty now that so many of the top clubs in Europe have decided to switch to the new format.
The UEFA and FIFA have combined their forces to reportedly sue the founding members of the
European Super League
for a whopping €60 billion, while also threatening that none of the footballers playing in the independent league will have the chance to represent their national teams, as their clubs will also be banned from any FIFA or UEFA related competitions.
We are yet to see how things will turn out eventually, and if UEFA are going to finally accept the creation of a new Super League in Europe, or if they will make even further changes in the Champions League to better suit the top clubs, rather than defending the underdogs who will certainly be crushed under the weight of the new competition.
Regarding the backlash that the announcement of the 2021 European Super League has caused, even politicians such as Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of the UK, have spoken out about the foundation of such a league being nothing other than a disaster for football.
While the main controversy about the 2021 European Super League was the fact that it would further undermine less rich clubs in Europe, there was also another backlash due to the number of the founding clubs and the inclusion of those who cannot even get a top-four finish in their respective domestic leagues. Here are all the teams, divided into their current respective leagues, which will participate in the Super League 2021 as the original twelve founding members. There are currently three clubs from La Liga, six clubs from England’s Premier League and three other from the Italian Serie A.
One thing that has surprised many after the unveiling of the 2021 European Super League, is the fact that there are no teams included from Bundesliga, Ligue 1 or the Eredivisie, which means that world-class clubs such asBayern Munich
and Ajax have all been excluded from the Super League as of yet. The founding members have announced that there will be an additional three clubs joining the 15-club founders group, but we are yet to see which clubs they are.
Knowing that Florentino Perez is the first official chairman of the European Super League, one could obviously guess that Real Madrid are one of the main founders of the new competition. The Los Blancos are already one of the most decorated clubs in the world and have undoubtedly dominated European football for quite a long time.
They have a record 13 Champions League trophies (6 European Champion Clubs’ Cups and 7 reformed UCL titles) in their trophy cabinet, while also having an eye-watering 34 La Liga titles alongside 19 Copas del Rey, 11 Spanish Supercups, 4 FIFA Club World Cups, 2 Europa League trophies, 3 Intercontinental cups and 4 UEFA Supercups.
The second team to joined Real Madrid in their pursuit of further success in Europe by declaring some sort of an independence are their archrivalsAtletico Madrid
, who have followed in their city rivals’ footsteps into the 2021 European Super League. While the Rojiblancos have been unable to win any Champions League trophies over the years after losing two intense finals to their nemeses Real Madrid, they too are packed with trophies with 10 La Liga titles, 10 Spanish cups, 2 Super Cups, 3 Europa League trophies, an intercontinental cup, a Cup Winners Cup and 3 UEFA Supercups.
The third club to join the European Super League from La Liga are obviouslyBarcelona
, who reportedly agreed to the plans of creating such a competition prior to Josep Maria Bartomeu’s arrest, as the foundations of the said league were being laid step by step. Barcelona clearly have a rich history with quite deep pockets. Thanks to Lionel Messi and other legendary players, the Catalan giants have managed to become one of the greatest football clubs in the world with hundreds of millions of fans across the world.
Perhaps the most controversial decision of them all is the inclusion of six teams from the Premier League, with some of the clubs unable to even make it into the top-four of their respective league. The list of English clubs includes two teams from Manchester, three clubs from London and one club from Merseyside. You could already guess which clubs we are talking about.
The two clubs from Manchester are obviously the Cityzens and the Red Devils. Manchester United and Manchester City are without a doubt two of the richest clubs in the world, who are able to spend hundreds of millions of Euros year-in year-our without even feeling any pressure. The London-based clubs include Chelsea, Arsenal andTottenham
, while the Merseyside club is obviouslyLiverpool
, who even broke Gary Neville’s heart as he claimed he felt “disgusted” by the decision that United and Liverpool have made.
are worth more than a whopping €1 billion as their archrivals United lag behind with a still eye-watering €700 million value. What the Red Devils lack in value, however, they more than make up for with their trophy cabinet, as they are currently the record holders of the Premier League with 20 titles since 1889, with Liverpool being behind with a one-title deficit. City, on the other hand, have got quite a long way to go as they only have 6 Premier League titles to their name.
Many fans and football enthusiasts have rushed onto their social media pages to make fun of Spurs and the Gunners, believing that they are in no way, shape or form anywhere close to the other teams in the Super League. That is why many have dubbed the system a joke as neither can be relegated from the league due to being one of the founding members.
Other claim that at leastArsenal
have a rich history and have something to show for in their trophy cabinet. The Gunners are one of the most decorated clubs in England with 13 Premier League trophies, 14 FA Cups, 2 English League Cups, a Cup Winners Cup and 16 Community (Charity) Shields. Tottenham, however, are the butt of every joke as they are mocked on a daily basis for not winning a trophy in a long time, with even their own sponsors making a dig at the London-based club.
Of course that is not to say that have won nothing at all and that their trophy cabinet is just full of Audi Cups. They do in fact have 2 Premier League titles, 8 FA Cups, 4 English League Cups, 2 UEFA Cups, a Cup Winners Cup and 7 Community Shields.
It seems that Italian clubs can’t help but be involved in historic controversies throughout generations, whether it is the Calciopoli Scandal, or the announcement of a new European Super League. There are currently three clubs from Italy amongst the founders of the league, with the three sides obviously being Juventus, Inter and AC Milan. The Serie A representative who acts as the vice-chairman of the Super League is the current Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, who has spoken in defense of the foundation of such a competition.
He added: “Our 12 Founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies. We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”