What will the new Super League be like? 20 clubs, midweek, play-offs and more

The announcement by 12 clubs, with Barça and Madrid, means an open war with UEFA, leagues and football associations

3 min
Casemiro and Messi, in a play in the last clásico.

Twelve of the most important football clubs in Europe, including Barça, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, have made official a historic agreement to form a new competition, the European Super League, self-managed by the twelve (expected to soon be fifteen) founding clubs: the three mentioned teams from La Liga, six more teams from the Premier League - Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham - and three from Serie A - Inter Milan, Milan and Juventus. In a statement issued after midnight, they officially declared their intention to go ahead with this competition. This has started that is an open war with UEFA, leagues and associations.

The founding clubs, with a leading role played by Real Madrid -Florentino Perez is the president of the Super League-, Manchester United and Juventus, have not announced the date of the inaugural season (expected to be 2022), only explaining that it will be "as soon as possible". At the moment, only English, Italian and Spanish clubs are taking part: PSG, Porto, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, four great exponents of European football, are not yet officially integrated.

Competition format

Twenty clubs will take part in the league: the 15 founding clubs and five additional teams that will qualify annually on the basis of the previous season's performance.

All matches will be played midweek and all clubs will continue to compete in their respective domestic leagues, thus preserving the traditional calendar that is at the heart of club life. The Super League therefore compromises the current format of the UEFA Champions League.

The season will start in August with the clubs participating in two groups of ten, which will play home and away matches over two legs. The top three in each group will automatically qualify for the quarter-finals. The teams finishing in fourth and fifth position will play in an additional two-legged playoff. Subsequently the knock-out rounds will take place until the final, which will be played as a single match at the end of May at a neutral venue.

The voice of the founders

Real Madrid and Super League president Florentino Perez said: "Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to the wishes of the fans". His Manchester United counterpart and vice-chairman of the newly-created competition, Joel Glazer, says the project means "bringing together the best clubs and players in the world to play against each other for the whole season: the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and greater financial support for the football pyramid as a whole".

UEFA, the leagues and state federations are radically against the Super League completely against the Super League. Politicians such as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, or his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, have also expressed their public rejection of the project.

Barça's stance

Unlike Madrid, Juventus and Tottenham, Barça have not made any public statements about their support for the Super League. During the campaign, the current president, Joan Laporta, did not reject the project, but in statements to Cadena Cope said that it could "ruin the business of football" because it was "only about money". Before resigning at the end of October, the former president Bartomeu approved the requirements to be part of the new competition. "The decision to play it will have to be ratified at the next assembly," he added. The last ordinary session with the delegates dates from before the pandemic. In fact, Super League aside, the partners have not yet approved the accounts for 2019/2020. Laporta will also need the support of the assembly to appoint managers who were not initially part of his candidacy.