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Chelsea owners’ stand on European Super League amidst fans’ protest history

Chelsea owners' stand on European Super League amidst fans' protest history
Image Credit: Getty Images

The latest proposal for a European Super League (ESL) has been unveiled. This competition, which previously tried to launch in 2021 with only 12 founding clubs, would now include between 60 to 80 teams, have no permanent members and guarantee at least 14 matches per season for participants.

Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22, the Madrid-based sister company of the ESL, stated that over 50 clubs have been consulted since October regarding the creation of a new competition, and that the “foundations of European football are in danger of collapsing”.

The new proposal would see qualification for the ESL based on performance in each club’s domestic competition.

Reichart also discussed plans for cost control measures, which would limit the amount that clubs competing in the ESL can spend on player salaries and net transfers to a fixed percentage of their annual football-related revenue.

Three of the most prominent clubs pushing for the creation of an ESL, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus, have not given up on their efforts.

The new proposal comes after a January transfer window where more than a record £815 million was spent by Premier League clubs, with Chelsea alone spending more (£323 million) than the other top four leagues (La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, and the Bundesliga) combined.

This financial disparity was recently highlighted by La Liga president Javier Tebas, who is against the formation of a Super League.

He said: “The British market is a doped market. You can see it clearly in this winter market, where Chelsea have made almost half of the signings in the Premier League. It is quite dangerous that the markets are doped, inflated, as has been happening in recent years in Europe because that can jeopardise the sustainability of European football.”

The role of Chelsea supporters in the collapse of the original European Super League proposal was significant.

In April 2021, a protest of around 2,000 fans took place outside of Stamford Bridge before a Premier League match against Brighton.

This demonstration caused the club, then owned by Roman Abramovich, to publicly announce their withdrawal from the proposed competition.

Following Chelsea’s decision, other teams including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Liverpool also pulled out, causing the original European Super League concept to quickly fall apart.

Since then, the ownership of Chelsea has changed hands and the decision on whether or not to participate in a European Super League would now rest with Todd Boehly, Behdad Eghbali, and Jose E. Feliciano, who are the co-controlling owners of the club following a £2.5 billion takeover from Abramovich in May 2022.

It is believed that Boehly and Eghbali have faith in the continued growth of the Premier League’s earning potential.

Additionally, the Champions League will also undergo changes in the 2024/25 season, using the “Swiss model” which guarantees at least 10 matches for participating teams.

“I never say hard nos, I like to keep options alive, but it [joining a European Super League] is not something that we are talking about at all,” Boehly said at the SALT Conference 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 €100million (£88.5million). 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.”

Sports Evolve

Written by Sports Evolve

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