Football

English Clubs Have Held Talks With Super League Since December Ruling, Claims A22

English football’s co-called ‘big six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were founder members of the original Super League project in April 2021 but quickly withdrew amid fan protests and pressure from the football authorities and the British Government

Super League promoters A22 say Premier League clubs have held talks with them since December’s ECJ ruling. Photo: Adam Davy/PA
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Premier League clubs have held private talks with the promoter of the European Super League since a landmark court ruling in December, the promoter’s chief executive has said. (More Football News)

English football’s co-called ‘big six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – were founder members of the original Super League project in April 2021 but quickly withdrew amid fan protests and pressure from the football authorities and the British Government.

All six publicly distanced themselves from efforts to launch a new competition in the wake of a ruling from the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on December 21, but Bernd Reichart, the chief executive of A22 which promotes the Super League concept, insists English clubs have been involved in dialogue with his organisation since then.

Asked directly whether there had been conversations with Premier League teams since the ECJ ruling, Reichart told the PA news agency: “Yes of course. It’s absolutely a logical and natural process.

“Everyone is trying to get a sense of what the ruling could mean, it’s the professional obligation of clubs to know what this change in club governance in Europe could mean for them.

“It’s a great opportunity, why shouldn’t everybody have a look at it neutrally and decide what’s best for their clubs, their members and their fans? We are aware that clubs all over Europe are currently involved in that process and we try to assist them and help them.”

The ECJ said UEFA’s criteria governing how rival competition organisers access the market must be transparent, objective, non-discriminatory and proportionate.

Reichart said there were clubs in Europe who had publicly declared support for UEFA and its existing competitions who have subsequently held new talks with A22.

“There’s still a situation where (clubs) hate getting calls from the political establishment every time they stick their head out of the window,” Reichart said.

“We haven’t put out a deadline, we haven’t said ‘this ship is sailing now’ and we haven’t invited people to come out with declarations because we don’t want (other clubs) to then get calls saying ‘now you have to counter that declaration which came out of your domestic league’.

“This is not an initiative which tries to divide the football community into two parts. I think it’s absolutely fair and good for us to talk with those clubs off the record, not out in the daylight, so that they are not pressured, not co-opted, so that they can actually contribute and make up their mind.

“In the UK you still have a lot of misconceptions that have to be challenged and we have to explain ourselves better.

“But even the concept of breaking away, or inviting clubs to leave the Premier League, that was never the intention of this initiative and it never will be.”

Reichart admitted the Super League concept “resonated more easily” with clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) compared to their English counterparts.

“They are in a situation where their domestic TV revenues, which is their main base of income, is just losing competitiveness year after year to bigger leagues,” Reichart said.

“They would love to be more exposed to a bigger, united European single market that helps them retain their talent, make their investments and stay competitive. This is a rationale that is resonating with Scottish clubs more easily than with English clubs, who are part of the wealthiest domestic league.”

A court in Madrid is set to hear the Super League case again on Thursday, having now received the answers to the questions it asked the ECJ about whether UEFA’s 2021 rules which blocked the Super League’s formation were anti-competitive.

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