The European Super League have appointed a new Chief Executive to help get the competition off the ground once again, after the previous incarnation was vetoed following supporter protests
The new boss of the European Super League – often referred to as the ESL – has claimed that the competition is expected to relaunch again within the next three years, according to the FT, and has stated that they are open to all suggestions and formats in a bid to get the movement off the ground. It comes after the original project faced backlash that resulted in its announcement and eventual collapse within a matter of days.
The original launch back in April 2021 shocked the footballing landscape as 12 clubs announced the breakaway competition, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham. Chairman of the project and president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, claimed that it was sought to fix football, while creating a closed off competition that worked on the basis of a coefficient and invitations rather than qualification through sporting merit.
Despite the supposed collapse, the competition has continued in the backdrop, with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus continuing their vocal support for the project, with each putting out statements in the past week in an attempt to convince others of their validity. All three sides are involved in a legal dispute against UEFA for the ESL, claiming the governing body have created a monopoly, with the ruling of the case in the European Court of Justice – set for spring next year – potentially changing the face of the sport.
While the project continues in the background, they have appointed a new Chief Executive in Bernd Reichart, who is first tasked with having discussions around the game to dissect the issues and options at his disposal. Speaking to the FT, he said: “We want to reach out to stakeholders in the European football community and broaden this vision. Even fans will have a lot of sympathy for the idea, It is a blank slate. Format will never be an obstacle.
“There is a reassessment. There is a clearly stated move towards an open format and that permanent membership is off the table. We want to see whether or not there is broader consensus about the problems facing European football. If fundamental change is to come, we want to be prepared.”
Both the ruling and the changes surrounding the format and entry could be enough to tempt some of the former clubs into making a decision on the project should it relaunch in the coming few years. That could come in line with new UEFA Champions League changes too, with the format changing to a ‘Swiss-style table’, meaning more games and more revenue.
Chelsea could be one of those clubs facing the decision should it come back onto the table, with new owners Boehly-Clearlake not involved in the original process. However, Todd Boehly refused to shut down the idea completely, saying in September: “I think the Champions League has a big component of that already, you have the best clubs playing each other every season.
“There’s already a lot of that. If you win the Champions League, you win over 100m euros. You win the Masters and make a couple of million bucks. I think you can do that in the summer [play Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich] more often, and there are other ways to do that. I think that the passion the fans have for the sport as it is, is so strong then I can’t envisage that changing.”
When pressed on whether that was a no to the Super League itself, he added: “I never say hard no’s, I like to keep options alive, but it is not something that we are talking about at all.”
A potential decision could come at a delicate time in football’s existence as the elite clubs grow ever further from those wishing to compete at the very top. Financial measures restrict those wishing to compete from doing so, keeping those in the elite competitions there for years apart from in rare cases, such as Leicester City, after they won the Premier League in 2015/16 to qualify for the following season’s Champions League.
While the sport searches for its next steps, those who carry the beacon may have to tread carefully with their next move, be it those representing the wider sporting landscape or the individual clubs.