12 clubs launch league
LONDON — A group of 12 European clubs split soccer on Sunday by announcing plans to walk away from the Champions League to create a new competition, drawing an angry response and the threat of legal action from UEFA.
The move includes storied clubs Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in Spain; England’s Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City; and Italy’s Juventus, Inter Milan and A.C. Milan.
Three more teams are expected to join the group, according to a statement released by the founding members.
“By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid,” said Joel Glazer, co-owner of Manchester United and vice chairman of the Super League as well as part of the family that owns the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is the founding chairman of the Super League, which would begin play in August. The Super League statement cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a catalyst for its breakaway from traditional competition.
The Super League will play midweek matches as an alternative to the existing UEFA Champions League. The new league will begin with men’s competitions and then launch a women’s league “as soon as practicable.”