New European Super League plan explained!

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The European Super League (ESL) might resurface on the agenda in 2024 following a significant ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) criticizing FIFA and UEFA for their treatment of the ESL project. The ECJ declared the threats made by both governing bodies to punish clubs and players associated with the ESL as ‘unlawful’ and part of an ‘abuse of a dominant position.’

While the ECJ’s statement did not explicitly endorse or empower the restart of the ESL, it has reignited the discussion surrounding the controversial 2021 announcement when 12 major European clubs intended to form a ‘breakaway league.’

In response to the ECJ’s ruling, the restructured ESL proposal has been introduced by the new backers, sports agency A22. This revised model aims to address previous concerns, introducing changes to ensure competitiveness and qualification based on sporting merit.

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The proposed ‘new’ ESL format would include 64 men’s club sides organized into three divisions, with promotion and relegation between them based on previous season’s performances. Unlike the previous model, this proposal does not involve permanent membership.

The top 32 teams would be divided into the Star League and the Gold League, while the remaining 32 would form the Blue League. Top-performing teams would progress to knockout stages, and the bottom 20 teams from the Blue League would be relegated, replaced by top-performing clubs from domestic leagues.

Matches would be scheduled midweek to run alongside domestic leagues, and teams reaching the finals of the Gold and Blue leagues would be promoted while the bottom teams of the higher leagues would be relegated.

Despite the ECJ’s ruling, the situation remains largely unchanged, with FIFA, UEFA, and most European domestic leagues reaffirming their commitment to opposing any ‘breakaway league.’ Clubs like Manchester United have reiterated their loyalty to UEFA and the Premier League.

While the concern about UEFA being dissolved by the ESL has diminished, pressure mounts on UEFA to make substantial changes, ensuring fairness and addressing pre-authorization laws. The final decision regarding the sanctioning of an ESL still lies with UEFA, who will likely lean toward enhancing the revamped Champions League as the preferred option.