On Sunday 18th April, it was announced that 12 of Europe’s largest football teams were joining a “Super League”.
These teams included six from England: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
The English teams would also be joined by three from Spain: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid; and three from Italy: AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
Due to the outcry from fans, ex-players and pundits, all English teams have now withdrawn from the proposed competition.
Both Ac Milan and Inter Milan have also withdraw, alongside the Spanish side Atlético Madrid. Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus are yet to respond.
Although the teams have requested to be removed from the Super League, it is unknown what will happen with the competition in the future.
The instigator of the competition Florentino Perez told newspaper AS “I don’t need to explain what a binding contract is, but effectively the clubs cannot leave”.
“Some of them, due to pressure, have said they’re leaving. But this project, or one very similar, will move forward and I hope very soon.”
Perez has also said that the clubs will be fined if they do not follow through with their commitments to the league.
Florentino Perez: “The #SuperLeague is not dead, it’s on stand-by and we’ll work on the project. All 12 founder clubs signed the same contract”. 🚨
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 21, 2021
The owners of the clubs have put themselves in a very difficult situation. UEFA and FIFA have threatened to ban clubs and players from future competitions, but this is unclear.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he was “completely impressed” by the reaction from players and fans.
Ceferin told the Mail on Sunday “Everyone has to take consequences for what they did, and we cannot pretend nothing happened.”
However, he has admitted that the English clubs would have the most lenient punishment for leaving first. Whereas Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus will face the strongest punishment.
During the Super League’s three-day campaign, UEFA also announced that the format of the Champions League would be changing from the 2024/25 season.
The new #UCL format will take effect from the 2024/25 season.
Find out more about what will change and how it benefits the wider game: ⬇️
— UEFA (@UEFA) April 20, 2021
The Champions League will be changed from 32 teams to 36. With each team playing 10 opponents, rather than the traditional four team group stage.
The point system will remain the same, as the top eight progress to the last 16. Those who finish between ninth and 24th will enter a play-off round to occupy the remaining eight spaces.
Football governing bodies are expected to meet in the coming weeks to discuss any future sanctions for the clubs involved, and what lies ahead for elite European football.