The structure for the proposed new ‘European Super League’ has been tipped to follow that of EuroLeague basketball, which would mean up to 18 of the continent’s biggest clubs playing each other home and away, prior to an eight-team playoff tournament.
But with invited clubs not expected to breakaway from their existing domestic leagues, such a format would put enormous strain on players in an already congested fixture schedule.
AS reports that the round-robin league structure with 16 or 18 teams, followed by playoffs, is currently the format being considered in the ongoing discussions.
It is said that the competition is supported by American financial corporation JP Morgan, with €5bn in credit offered to organisers in order to get things off the ground.
Despite initial reports claiming that the new competition is backed by FIFA, president Gianni Infantino declared last week that he is ‘not interested’ in creating a new competition for an elite few European clubs and is focusing on launching the re-formatted FIFA Club World Cup.
Manchester United chief Ed Woodward, meanwhile, denied any knowledge of talks about a supposed European Super League and insisted he has only been working on Champions League reforms as part of the European Club Association.
However, in his parting speech as Barcelona president as he announced his resignation, Josep Maria Bartomeu stated that the club has accepted an invitation to join the proposed competition – that decision must yet be ratified and approved by a members’ vote.
AS notes that Real Madrid, while supportive of the idea, consider discussions over the European Super League to be at a very early stage. While at least being aware of the project, officials at the Bernabeu are said to believe there is nothing concrete and will not commit, unlike the departing Bartomeu controversially did on behalf of Barcelona, until there is.
18 clubs in a European Super League in the format being discussed would mean each playing a minimum of 34 games. For the top eight, there could be up to another three in the playoffs, meaning the winners would be playing 37 games to be crowned ‘European champions’ – the current number of games needed to win the Champions League is 13, excluding possible qualifiers.
Even though the competition would replace the Champions League, likely killing it off altogether after nearly 70 years of history, that number of games is an unfeasible commitment on top of a domestic league season, even if participants begin withdrawing from domestic cups.
Were Liverpool or Manchester United, for example, to play in the Premier League and an 18-team European Super League, without any additional competitions, it is a minimum of 72 games.