What Happened: On Sunday, 12 European football clubs announced that they will be collaborating to form a new breakaway European Super League (ESL) which would rival the existing Champions League. This move is the biggest shake-up the sport has seen in decades, and the decision has been met with widespread criticism from governments, the Union of European Football Associations as well as fans.
Founding Members: The clubs that have signed up for this new league are Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham. Bigger French and German clubs, such as Bayern Munich and Paris Saint Germain, have released states expressing disinterest in following this move.
The Risk: If the ESL is successfully pulled off, European football will become splintered, as British clubs will be playing in a separate league reminiscent of the way American sports function. According to fans, this would deprive them of the dynamics they love.
The Reaction: Almost every stakeholder involved has expressed their disappointment with these developments. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to hold a virtual meeting imminently with officials from the Premier League as well as representatives from fans’ groups, to discuss the government response to the ESL. Other leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron, have followed suit. Moreover, Gianni Infantino, the president of Fifa said that he would ‘protect international football’, and will not let this go through. There have been discussions about banning the participants from other domestic and international leagues too. Other officials have expressed the same sentiment.