The Champions League is on the brink of collapse. 16 top European clubs could join forces and form their own league. Background: The best clubs currently receive up to 100 million euros from the European competitions. That’s obviously not enough for them.
Berlin – According to a media report, the introduction of a Super League as a competitor to the Champions League in European club football is becoming more concrete again. A consulting firm is said to have presented plans to Real Madrid in October, Der Spiegel reported on Friday. It is planned that 16 top clubs will sign a letter of intent in the course of this month.
Should the plans be implemented, this would mean the end of the UEFA Champions League in its current form in 2021. The Super League would be organised according to these ideas in a private sector and thus outside the existing associations.
The German Bundesliga football clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund will also be among these 16 top clubs. Dortmund’s managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke did not comment the plans directly to the magazine. But it is clear that there are current discussions about the Super League, “that’s clear, and I also believe that a few of Europe’s big clubs are clearly working on it”. However, these plans are probably “not yet very concrete”.
No confirmation from Munich, hints in interview
FC Bayern informed the Spiegel that “neither the existence nor the content” of the draft declaration of intent were known to the club. The Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge had recently said in an interview with the magazine 11 Freunde (November issue) that he expected the introduction of a European Super League in the distant future: “I suspect that this league will come one day. But don’t ask me when.”
According to Der Spiegel, the 16 clubs that could play in a super league from 2021 onwards include FC Bayern, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus Turin and AC Milan as founders who cannot be relegated. In addition, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Olympique Marseille, Inter Milan and AS Roma would be the “initial guests”. A second league is also under discussion in which only these guests could relegate.
Negotiations about funds are pending
The background to the simulation games is the negotiations scheduled for next year on the distribution of funds from the Champions League from 2021 onwards. UEFA is currently distributing annual premiums of 2.04 billion to the clubs of the Champions League, with the most successful clubs receiving up to 100 million euros. The idea that the top clubs should organise themselves in their own league in order to achieve significantly higher revenues has been around for several decades.
Almost three years ago, according to the report, there were further plans to separate the top clubs from the existing league structures. Negotiations on the distribution of the Champions League were also pending at that time. FC Bayern, in the person of its chief legal officer Michael Gerlinger, had a law firm check whether the Munich clubs could withdraw not only from the European competitions, but also from the Bundesliga. Due to the subsequent reform of the Champions League, which secured the four strongest leagues four starting places each for the group phase, a super league was no longer an issue at that time. Check out Booty Bingo here!
Dortmund promises to stay in Bundesliga
Gerlinger told “Der Spiegel” that thought games about leaving the Bundesliga were quickly “completely off the table”. BVB boss Watzke promised: “As long as I bear the responsibility here, BVB will not leave the Bundesliga”. In 2016 FC Schalke 04 was also named as a possible participant in the Super League. The league discussed at that time was to run for 34 weeks with matches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Spiegel’s reporting is the result of research carried out by the Football Leaks disclosure platform, which is available to the magazine and its partners in the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC) research network.