European Super League (ESL)

Seismic move for football: JP Morgan to finance breakaway league

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A group of 12 elite English, Spanish and Italian clubs (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid) have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL).

In a statement, the ESL said: “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.”

UEFA,  European football’s governing body, and the Premier League condemned the move when the news broke on Sunday (April 19).

UEFA released a joint statement with England’s Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Federation, La Liga and the Italian Football Federation, as well as Serie A, saying they would “remain united” in trying to stop the breakaway, using “all available measures”.

“UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, La Liga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” it said in a statement.

The Premier League had said it “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit.”

In a separate statement on Sunday FIFA said: “FIFA can only express its disapproval to a ‘closed European breakaway league’ outside of the international football structures.”

The developments occurred a day before UEFA was due to sign off on plans for an expanded and restructured tournament.

UEFA has warned clubs that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League which currently dominates European football.

On Monday (April 19), JP Morgan said it was financing the new breakaway Super League.
“I can confirm that we are financing the deal, but have no further comment at the moment,” a spokesman said in a statement to AFP.

The league plans to launch “as soon as practicable” and the founding clubs will be given $3.5 billion “to support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID.”

Most of the clubs are saddled with debt and large wage bills.

Addressing an emergency meeting the day after 12 of Europe’s top clubs announced the new league, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin described the Super League plan as a “spit in the face” of all football lovers. “As soon as possible they (the clubs) and the players have to be banned from all our competitions,” he added.

With reporting by AFP and agencies

UPDATE 23/04/2021

In the wake of waves of negative reaction, it seems as though the Super League project is over before it even started. The US investment bank has now pulled funding, it has been announced. JP Morgan released a short statement on Friday (April 23) morning which read: “We clearly misjudged how this deal would be viewed by the wider football community and how it might impact them in the future. We will learn from this.”