European Super League (association football)
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The concept of a European Super League consisting of the best football clubs from across Europe has been discussed from 1990s and has occasionally been officially proposed, but the idea has not yet got off the ground.
In 1998, Italian company Media Partners seriously investigated the idea. The plan died after UEFA moved to expand the Champions League competition and abolish the Cup Winners' Cup in order to better accommodate clubs that were considering defecting in order to join the proposed Super League.
In July 2009, Real Madrid's Florentino Pérez championed the idea. In August 2009, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger predicted a super league would become reality within 10 years time due to revenue pressure on the continent's elite teams.
In February 2012, Clarence Seedorf also predicted the inception of the competition, and gave it his backing. In April 2013 Scotland manager Gordon Strachan said that he believes the Old Firm clubs of Celtic and Rangers would join a future new 38-club two-division European Super League.
Florentino Pérez's 2009 proposal
On July 4, 2009, Florentino Pérez criticized the current Champions League, saying "we have to agree a new European Super League which guarantees that the best always play the best - something that does not happen in the Champions League." Perez stated that he would push for a break-away competition featuring Europe's traditional powerhouses if UEFA didn't do more to ensure these teams played each other annually.
Under Perez's plan, the continent's best teams would remain part of their respective national systems, but would be guaranteed the opportunity to play each other at the conclusion of the regular league season.
Stephen M. Ross's proposal
In 2016, representatives from Premier League clubs; Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal were seen leaving a meeting with Stephen M. Ross' representatives that discussed the proposition of a European Super League.
2016 UEFA changes
In 2016, UEFA again discussed the possibility of creating a closed league containing the 16 best teams in European football from the highest ranked national leagues. These 16 teams would have been divided into 2 groups, with 8 teams in each group. After 56 games in each group under the round-robin system, the teams that finished in places 1-4 would qualify for the quarter-finals. That plan was finally rejected and UEFA, in order to avoid the creation of a super league, made changes to the structure of the UEFA Champions League. UEFA announced that, for the trade cycle 2018–21, England, Italy, Spain and Germany would have 4 teams in the UEFA Champions League group stage without having to compete in play-offs. This means that the number of direct places will be increased from 22 to 26. The 6 remaining places will come from the champions' path (down from 5 teams to 4 teams) and the non-champions' path (down from 5 teams to 2 teams). If the title holder of this competition qualifies for the Champions League from its domestic league, the champion of the country with the 11th placed UEFA Coefficient will go through into the UEFA Champions League group stage; if not, the title holder has the right to defend the trophy. UEL defending champions also acquire the right to compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage, without the opportunity of directly securing a play-off berth as in the 2015–18 trade cycle agreements. If the UEL champion automatically qualifies for the UEFA Champions League group stage via its domestic league, the third ranked team of the country with the 5th placed UEFA coefficient will replace the UEL winner.
- "Football: Uefa winning 'super league' war". The Independent. London. 24 October 1998.
- Hytner, David (17 August 2009). "European super league will be here in 10 years, says Arsène Wenger". The Guardian. London.
- Ziegler, Martyn; Esplin, Ronnie (10 April 2013). "Celtic and Rangers will join European super league, says Scotland manager Gordon Strachan". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Real Madrid's Florentino Perez reveals 'European Super League' ambition". The Daily Telegraph. London. 5 July 2009.