Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 7 No. 149
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Top Clubs Planning Breakaway Super League, Der Spiegel Reports

German magazine Der Spiegel and European Investigative Collaborations reported plans for a breakaway European Super League, involving top clubs such as Real Madrid and ManU, are "back on the agenda," according to Simon Evans of REUTERS. The publication reported talks between some of Europe's leading clubs about a breakaway league "were at an advanced stage" before a compromise deal in '16 with UEFA. But Der Spiegel said that a "fresh plan" was recently drafted by Spanish company Key Capital Partners for Real Madrid, which "foresees 11 top European clubs creating a Super League" in '21, when the agreement on the Champions League format and revenue sharing ends. Key Capital Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Real Madrid declined to comment. The 11 "founders" could not be relegated from the Super League, which would have five "guest teams" to make up a 16-team competition, replacing the current 32-team Champions League. The founding clubs -- which would not face relegation for 20 years -- are Real Madrid, Barcelona, ManU, Juventus, Chelsea, Arsenal, Paris St. Germain, Man City, Liverpool, AC Milan and Bayern Munich. The five "initial guests," according to the document, are Atlético Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Olympique de Marseille, Inter Milan and AS Roma. The document stated that the teams should sign up to the "term sheet" this month. It is not clear how many, if any, clubs have "signed up." UEFA is not mentioned in the draft. ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea and Atlético, as well as Real Madrid, declined to comment. Barcelona, Juventus, Man City, PSG, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and OM were not immediately available to comment. Bayern Munich released a statement saying, "FC Bayern is ... unaware of recent plans for a so-called Super League, also reported by 'Der Spiegel,' nor has FC Bayern taken part in negotiations relating to such plans." Bayern Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said, "FC Bayern Munich stands by its membership of the Bundesliga and, as long as I am chairman of the board of FC Bayern, also by the club competitions organized jointly by UEFA and the ECA." The European Club Association said in a statement, "ECA is completely unaware of any discussions by clubs to develop a break-away league. At present, ECA is working in close collaboration with UEFA on the next cycle and post-2024." Spiegel reported Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke declined to comment on the draft document but said that the fact discussions about the Super League are ongoing "is clear, and I also believe that a few of Europe's large clubs are clearly working on it." Watzke added that such plans are apparently "not very concrete" yet and said that Dortmund would not leave the Bundesliga for a new competition (REUTERS, 11/2). The BBC reported Der Spiegel said that its source is a whistleblower they call John, who claims that "neither he nor his associates are hackers." He told Der Spiegel, "We have very good sources and a strong network that provides us with a lot of information" (BBC, 11/2).

'FULLY OPPOSE': In London, Morgan & Wallace reported UEFA and FIFA have the "option of warning all players involved" that they could become ineligible for World Cups and European Championships if Europe's biggest teams "press ahead with the alleged secret plans." The U.K. government is also understood to "fully oppose" any Premier League team proposals to join forces with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, PSG, AC Milan and Bayern Munich. One source said, "The government hasn't been told about any of this, which suggests the Premier League has also been kept in the dark. We would absolutely oppose this on the basis that it would threaten the culture of sport in England." Synergy Chief Strategy Officer Carten Thode said that he was aware of the talks, but said that an English breakaway is "deeply unlikely." He said, "These talks stretch back a decade and are simply about negotiating leverage as far as the English teams are concerned. Last time, we saw more clubs in the Champions League as a result of this. UEFA, in particularly, will figure out how to get these clubs more money, and this whole thing is likely to go away. The English market is just way too important to the clubs" (TELEGRAPH, 11/3).