Six of English football’s biggest clubs have confirmed they have joined a new European Super League (ESL).
Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 founding members of the breakaway competition which will have huge ramifications on the future of the game in England and across Europe.
The Premier League clubs will be joined as founders of the Super League by AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.
A further three clubs are expected to join as founders, with the ESL planned to begin “as soon as practicable”.
It is slated to take place in mid-week, with teams continuing to compete in their respective national leagues.
The 15 founding members will be guaranteed entry each year, with a further five teams qualifying annually based on achievements in the prior season.
The move has sparked fury from UEFA – who are set to announce a new Champions League format on Monday – and drawn condemnation from the Premier League, Football Association and even the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.
A statement from the ESL read: “Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.
“AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs. It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.
“Going forward, the Founding Clubs look forward to holding discussions with UEFA and FIFA to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole.”
It added the 12 clubs would now seek to work with UEFA and world governing body FIFA to “deliver the best outcomes for the new League and for football as a whole”.
It continued: “The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues.
“These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of 10billion euros during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs.”
Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid, has been named as its chairman.
Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United, is to be a vice-chairman of the new competition.
European football’s governing body has warned players involved would be banned from all other competitions at domestic, European or world level and may be prevented from representing their national teams too.
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FIFA, meanwhile, has expressed its “disapproval” of the ESL and has called on “all parties involved in heated discussions to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game”.