The American bank JPMorgan announced, Monday, April 19, that it was going to finance the European Superleague project, carried by a handful of clubs among the richest and which is shaking the world of football. “I can confirm that we are financing the operation”, told Agence France-Presse (AFP) a spokesperson for the bank in London.
This new private competition is launched by twelve big clubs with the aim of supplanting the prestigious Champions League. It constitutes a declaration of war to which the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has promised to respond by excluding dissident teams and their players.
Shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic, the king of sport in Europe sees its future darken with a questioning of the current pyramid system of redistribution of television resources between the Champions League, a flagship competition, and the national championships.
No French or German club … for now
The twelve founders of the Superleague are
- the six major English clubs (Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea);
- the three most successful Spanish clubs in recent years (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atlético Madrid);
- three of the biggest Italian clubs (Juventus Turin, AC Milan, Inter Milan).
Three other clubs will be brought into this restricted circle of fifteen “Founding clubs”, according to a statement from the new organization chaired by Florentino Perez, the boss of Real Madrid. No French or German club has, for the moment, joined these founders.
For now, Paris-Saint-Germain has refused to appear in the initial setup of this Superleague, as have Bayern Munich and Dortmund, the two German clubs present on the board of directors of the European Club Association (ECA ). The latter have clearly spoken out against the project, Borussia Dortmund boss Hans-Joachim Watzke said on Monday.
To these fifteen founding formations will be added each season five clubs “Qualified” via a system which remains to be specified. “At least two French clubs” will play this Superleague, according to a source close to the founding clubs.
The project sparked a wave of indignation, among supporters but also within the political world. This Superleague is contrary to the European values of “Diversity” and D’” inclusion “, estimated Margaritis Schinas, vice-president of the European Commission, on Twitter. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, meanwhile, ruled that the proposal was “Very damaging for football”.
The launch of this Superleague comes as UEFA meets on Monday its executive committee to endorse an overhaul of its Champions League by 2024.