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European Super League: Fans and clubs can be convinced to back new plans, says organiser

European Super League: Fans and clubs can be convinced to back new plans, says organiser

In the aftermath of the European Court of Justice’s landmark ruling against the ban on clubs joining the European Super League (ESL), the organization A22, at the forefront of the new ESL proposal, remains resolute in its pursuit of fan and club backing for an overhauled competition. The year 2021 marked the inception of the breakaway ESL, with 12 teams signing up to rival UEFA competitions. This Thursday, the court’s ruling unleashed a chain of events leading to the unveiling of a reimagined ESL by A22, drawing both intrigue and skepticism.

However, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin did not mince words, openly mocking the new proposals in a news conference, staunchly asserting that “football is not for sale.” Ceferin, expressing a degree of disdain, even anticipated a tournament featuring only two teams. The Premier League, echoing UEFA’s sentiments, swiftly rejected the concept, emphasizing its commitment to UEFA competitions. Despite this opposition, five of the six Premier League teams that initially supported the breakaway plans in 2021, only to later withdraw, affirmed their dedication to UEFA competitions.

The heart of A22’s new proposal lies in the evolution of the original ESL, featuring a league system comprising 64 men’s clubs and 32 women’s clubs. A significant departure from the prior iteration, the revamped ESL introduces an annual promotion and relegation system, eliminating the notion of permanent members. This alteration addresses one of the major criticisms of the initial ESL, particularly in the UK, where 99% of critics objected to the idea of permanent membership, considering it a betrayal of football tradition.

Bernd Reichart, A22’s CEO, asserted that the proposals aim for an open, accessible, and meritocratic European league system that coexists harmoniously with domestic leagues. While not naming interested clubs, Reichart hinted at potential supporters while expressing caution about creating divisions within the football community. The emphasis remains on gradually convincing clubs and fans, ensuring a transparent process free from sanctions.

Reichart detailed the new format, focusing solely on sporting merit, designed to prioritize players’ health and align with the existing football calendar without increasing the number of matchdays. Additionally, the proposal aims to provide opportunities for smaller clubs, such as La Liga leaders Girona, allowing them to actively participate in the European dream.

Despite domestic leagues across Europe condemning A22’s venture, the organization remains undeterred, committed to reshaping the European football landscape. Ceferin, while critical of the revamped proposals, sees the ECJ ruling as an opportunity to refine existing regulations, defending the Champions League as the pinnacle of club competitions.

The ongoing saga, originating in April 2021, witnessed widespread condemnation of the initial ESL, leading to its collapse within 72 hours. Barcelona and Real Madrid stand as the only clubs maintaining interest in the new European competition. As A22 pushes forward with its vision for a transformed football ecosystem, the divide within the footballing community persists, with skepticism surrounding the viability of the proposed competition.

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