European Super League could be in place by 2024/25 season, says new chief executive Bernd Reichart – Sky Sports

  • October 20, 2022


European Super League plans were announced in April 2021 but collapsed within days after the six Premier League sides withdrew amid fierce opposition; but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid remain committed to the proposals; verdict in legal case against UEFA and FIFA expected next spring
Wednesday 19 October 2022 18:28, UK
A new European Super League with no permanent membership could be up and running by the 2024/25 season, the chief executive of the company behind the failed project has revealed.
Bernd Reichart has been hired by A22 Sports Management, which was formed to sponsor and assist in the creation of the proposed 12-team breakaway league in April last year.
Reichart’s first remit is to initiate talks with football stakeholders across Europe and, while he is aware discussions can continue without input from England’s big six, he is hopeful they will engage.
The German media executive also believes the Premier League’s club-run model is a good example for the European Super League – now expanded to 20 teams – to follow.
Asked if the 2024/25 season was the earliest the failed project could start up again, Reichart told the PA news agency: “That might be the first reasonable and realistic call but there are so many variables that I can’t actually foresee. That is probably the first realistic call.”
The Premier League referred to their statement from June 2021 when contacted by Sky Sports News.
The European Super League was launched in April 2021 with 12 founding members – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid – who would permanently take part in the competition.
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The plan quickly collapsed after the six Premier League clubs pulled out in the face of fierce criticism from supporters, pundits, clubs and the media, but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid remain committed to the concept.
Permanent membership of the European Super League for the founding members was a significant point of criticism, but Reichart said: “There has been an important reassessment and the concept is spreading out about openness and taking the permanent membership off the table. I can say the three clubs have credibly reassessed and taken some learnings from the first approach.
“I am aware of what the English clubs stated a year and a half ago, but I hope the whole football community is appreciating the approach to continue to care and try to come up with solutions.
“Initially the dialogue can work without them (English clubs). I will talk to clubs in other countries but this is not an exclusive initiative at all, it is an inclusive initiative.
“Of course the situation of the English clubs and the Premier League is a strong example of how attractive a club-run competition could actually look like and what difference it makes if you have the best playing each other week after week in a way. I would love to have their point of view as well.”
Reichart is also not against dialogue with UEFA, despite the looming European Court of Justice date.
December 15 will see recommendations issued in the case from A22 Sports Management, which argues that European and world football’s governing bodies, UEFA and FIFA, abused a dominant position under European competition law in first blocking the league’s formation and then in their effects to sanction the clubs involved.
A resolution is expected by spring in 2023 but Reichart insisted: “My message (to UEFA) would be an invitation for dialogue as well.
“We did send them a letter. I think, just like a year and a half ago, it will remain unanswered but let’s see if they understand that dialogue is necessary and that we are not against anybody, but in favour of a lot of things. We are open to pick up their phone call.”
UEFA has confirmed to Sky Sports News it has received a letter from A22 and says it “is always open to constructive dialogue and, therefore, will consider the request for a meeting in due course”.
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Sky Sports’ chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“It’s a PR push. The Super League project has never gone away. I think people have been dreaming about having a European Super League for something like 40, 50 years.
“We saw what happened 18 months ago when clubs tried to break away, including six Premier League clubs. What is significant is that, out of the 12 clubs that tried to break away, three of them – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus – haven’t given up. They still cling to this dream.
“The main problem I think they’ve got is a financial one because the Premier League is so successful. If you speak to people who run European clubs they say, ‘there is nothing we can do’. People around the world want to watch the Premier League, they want to watch clubs like Liverpool playing Manchester United. Those are the games that broadcasters around the world are willing to pay for.
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“When it comes to Italian, German, Spanish, French league games, there’s just not the worldwide appetite. That’s why we’re seeing clubs like Juventus with such financial problems, losing millions of pounds every year, and they’re only eighth in the Italian league. Barcelona, we know all about their financial problems. These people are desperate. They need to come up with something, a way of competing with the Premier League.
“But the problem they’ve got is you cannot have a European Super League without Premier League teams and, at the moment, there is no appetite from Premier League clubs to be part of a Super League because the last time they tried, it was a disaster. So, unless they can get big English clubs involved, this is a non-starter.
“Last summer, the six Premier League clubs who tried to break away were collectively fined about £22m and were told, ‘if you try to break away again, you will each be fined £25m and deducted 30 points.’ I think that would stop them being part of a breakaway.
“But this is not going to go away because football is a business, and people in business want to make as much money as possible. The Holy Grail, as far as the money men are concerned, is to have a European Super League.
“If the European Court of Justice agrees with those three clubs and says, ‘yes, this is against European competition rules and UEFA and FIFA are acting like a monopoly,’ then I think it would be likely we would see a European Super League appearing. But whether English clubs would be a part of it, I’m not so sure.”
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