Florentino Perez and Andrea Agnelli, presidents of Real Madrid and Juventus respectively, are the architects of the European Super League according to Diario AS. The project has strong financial backing, including American investment funds such as JP Morgan. Their good relationship with American club owners in Europe were critical in making it what it is, especially with Malcolm Glazer of Manchester United and John Henry of Liverpool.
Their argument was simple. The pandemic has hit European football like nothing before, with Milan, Atletico Madrid, Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus all losing north of €100m due to the financial fallout. Nobody’s come out of the situation in the black. Given this climate, a tournament that ensures €350m per club and an emergency fund of €3.5bn is highly attractive, although it wasn’t enough to seduce Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund or Paris Saint-Germain, who are against the plan.
Agnelli has left his position as president of the ECA, having previously used his position on the UEFA Executive Committee to pressure UEFA to remodel the Champions League. When that didn’t develop to his taste, he decided to switch tack, align himself with Florentino and basically blow up European football. The ECA, made up of 246 clubs in Europe, called an emergency meeting on Sunday after the news of the Super League broke, but the rebellion had already taken hold, with some of the 12 founding clubs refusing to partake in the video call.
UEFA have reacted as they’ve always maintained they would, claiming that anyone who took part would be unable to compete in their tournaments, a line FIFA picked up soon after. It remains to be seen, however, how they act now that the Super League appears to have become reality. One thing for sure is that this is a seismic day in European football.