Five of England’s biggest clubs have allegedly made a secret meeting over a potential breakaway from the Champions League to launch a European Super League.
The Sun claimed on Tuesday morning that Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal officials held talks at London’s Dorchester hotel on Tuesday.
Old Trafford executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, Manchester City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre were present in the meeting, which was actually instigated by American billionaire Stephen Ross.
Mr Ross, an American real estate developer who happens to be the creator of the pre-season International Champions Cup (ICC) in the US, China and Australia, now reportedly looks to wrap up a deal shortly.
However the clubs denied their involvement in any kind of proposed Super League on Wednesday morning, with sources close to United and Arsenal both supporting the Champions League in its existing format.
It is believed that Tuesday’s meeting was organised at the invitation of Ross’s Relevent Sports. Stephen Ross was not present but the alleged discussions were held with his representatives about some potential changes to the current structure of European football.
The concept of such a rebel league, which would apparently see England’s top teams join Europe’s elite class including Barcelona and Real Madrid, has long been debated.
As a matter of fact, three years ago, Turkish club Galatasaray’s chairman claimed Europe’s biggest clubs were actively planning to organise a “closed” tournament of the continent’s 20 top teams. Unal Aysal at that time also suggested, such a league would be set up within five years.
The move would obviously make sure hundreds of millions of pounds for Europe’s top sides, some of whom don’t generally qualify for an elite tournament like Champions League.
This season, both Chelsea and Liverpool are believed to miss out on a Champions League berth, while Manchester United currently remains three points off the top four.
Many are suggesting a breakaway league would spell the end of Champions League and have a huge impact on the Premier League.
The English Premier League right now enjoys a TV deal which guarantees almost £100 million per club for the next three years. The possible exit of those biggest clubs would see that revenue severely fall down and it will have a huge impact on the remaining clubs as well as on the whole league.
Uefa has been under severe pressure from the European Club Association to restructure the continent’s top club competition to make sure teams with the greatest TV appeal have a guaranteed place.
However, Uefa in a recent statement said: “Uefa constantly reviews the format of its competitions in close consultation with stakeholders, including the European Club Association. There are no concrete proposals on the table at this stage as we have just begun a new three-year cycle (2015-18) for club competitions. There is therefore no further comment to be made at this stage.”