This photo shows the UEFA Champions League logo on a soccer ball. Twelve of Europe's most powerful clubs announced the launch of a breakaway European Super League on Monday. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Plans for a new European Super League were announced last night as Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham put their names to the highly controversial proposal. They were joined by three clubs from Italy — AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus — and three clubs from Spain — Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid — in announcing their position as founders of a new breakaway competition.
A joint statement read: “Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new midweek competition, the Super League, governed by its founding clubs. AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, 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.”
Camp Nou is seen as twelve of Europe's top football clubs launch a breakaway Super League in Barcelona, Spain. Reuters
The next major development in this story will be Uefa’s plans for a reformed Champions League, which are set to be announced today, according to the Independent. These plans had received great criticism in themselves when leaked recently, with Arsenal and Manchester United fans accusing their clubs of a “blatant power grab”.
The European Club Association board has drawn up the plans and its chairman, Juventus’s Andrea Agnelli, described the new format, where each team would play at least four extra group stage matches compared to now, as “ideal”. Uefa’s proposals also controversially include plans which would effectively provide Europe’s most successful clubs with a safety net should they miss out on qualification via domestic performance.
All this, of course, will now seem like a benevolent project in comparison with the Super League — which some will say was the plan all along.
FIFA expressed its "disapproval" at the Super League plans and called on all parties "to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game."
The Premier League, the richest in Europe, issued a furious statement.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli gestures during a match. File/Reuters
"Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best," it said.
"We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream."
Arsenal, who currently sit ninth in the Premier League, well off the qualification spots for Europe, hinted at the obstacles ahead, saying "there's lots more to do to bring the competition to life".
The European Club Association (ECA) said it "strongly opposes" the Super League.
The withdrawal by Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, just two days after the league's unveiling, followed a furious reaction from fans, officials and politicians.
Pedro Rodriguez starred as Chelsea withstood a spirited Slavia Prague fightback in a wild 4-3 victory to qualify for the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday, while Arsenal knocked out Napoli after an assured display in Italy.
Barcelona might have their eighth title in 11 years all-but sewn up but, with six games left to play, La Liga is far from finished.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) who were at the rock bottom in the table and playing for the pride only, defeated Rajasthan to dent their hopes. Rajasthan are at the sixth spot with 10 points from as many matches, having won five and lost five.
Pakistan's former captain Inzamam-ul Haq was brought to the hospital after experiencing chest pain. Haq underwent an angioplasty and is currently in a stable condition, said local media reports.
Sunil Narine shone with bat and ball as Kolkata Knight Riders boosted their play-off hopes with a three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.