[WATCH] Top European clubs face backlash after forming breakaway Super League

UEFA threatens action against top European football clubs that will form breakaway Super League • Gary Neville: ‘I am disgusted’

Six of England's Premier League clubs have signed up as Founding Members of the breakaway European Super League
Six of England's Premier League clubs have signed up as Founding Members of the breakaway European Super League

A new European football Super League is in the offing with 12 top clubs forming the breakaway tournament risking backlash from UEFA and national associations.

The 12 founding clubs are Italy’s Milan, Juventus and Inter, Spain’s Real Madrid, Barcellona and Atletico Madrid, and England’s Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Three more clubs could join for the inaugural season, which will commence “as soon as practicable”.

A statement read: “Twelve of Europe's leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs… Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.”

But the announcement has caused a massive backlash from fans and the governing football bodies UEFA and FIFA. National associations have also condemned the move.

Former Manchester Utd stalwart Garry Neville reflected the disappointment of fans in England in a strong reaction against the Super League, which will ensure that the Founding Clubs will always compete irrespective of performance. “I am disgusted… this is avarice,” he said.

The announcement of the Super League came just as UEFA was going to announce an overhaul of its Champions League competition that would have seen clubs playing more games.

UEFA released a joint statement, with the FA, Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A, as well as the Spanish and Italian football federations, which blasted the plans.

The European footballing body stressed that Europe's top national football governing bodies and leagues will remain united in opposing the “cynical” initiative, and will use all methods available to them, including legal action, to prevent the scheme from being put into practice.

Players from the clubs have also been threatened of not being able to play in the World Cup for their respective national teams.

The competition format will see the 15 Founding Clubs joined by a further five teams, who qualify every year based on achievements in the prior season.

The tournament will start in August with clubs participating in two groups of ten, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group automatically qualifying for the quarter-finals. Teams finishing fourth and fifth will then compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final positions.

A two-leg knockout format will be used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.

The clubs will continue participating in their respective domestic leagues.

The statement said that the new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments.

“These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the Clubs… in exchange for their commitment, Founding Clubs will receive an amount of €3.5 billion solely to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic,” the statement read.