Liverpool have once again been tied to a bid to transform European football, this time as part of a new FIFA-backed tournament.
The Reds were a major force in Project Big Picture which came to light earlier in October before the proposal was thrown out by Premier League clubs, and are now again reported to be one of the numerous clubs in talks over a ‘European Premier League’.
Clubs from England, France, Germany Italy and Spain are in discussions over becoming founding members of the tournament which is said to have the endorsement and support of FIFA, according to Sky Sports.
Widely accepted as a proposal for a European super league, it remains unclear whether it has the backing of UEFA – leaving the future of the longstanding Champions League in danger if it does not.
Although, it is important to note that the current format of the Champions League is locked in until 2024.
Provisional dates as early as 2022 have been touted for the league, however, which would forever alter the European footballing scene. It is set to be comprised of up to 18 clubs who play alongside their regular league games.
The competition would be a round-robin format, likely to fall in mid-week before a knockout stage followed – adding more fixtures to an already relentless schedule for players across Europe.
The lucrative nature of the tournament will no doubt appeal to clubs and their owners, with prize money reported to be worth “hundreds of millions of pounds each year,” where American bank JP Morgan are said to have held discussions over providing a debt package worth up to $6 billion (£4.6 billion) to fund the launch.
A formal announcement for the proposal could come as early as the end of the month, but the plans will no doubt receive significant resistance as wealthy clubs will become wealthier, significantly jeopardising the competitive balance within European leagues.
While the prospect of facing Europe’s top clubs week in and week out will excite fans of clubs involved, many voiced their disdain of the plans:
All this talk of European Super Leagues … the clubs may want it but do their fans? I certainly don’t. I love going to grounds like Selhurst Park and St Mary’s every season, and experiencing the derby. Real Madrid and PSG away as alternative regular fixtures just isn’t the same.
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) October 20, 2020
Please please please football… stop trying to ruin everything people love about the game. FFS. #EuropeanPremierLeague
— Ben Haines (@benhainess) October 20, 2020
The wider point is when the super clubs will ever think they have enough. They just seem to move in ever decreasing circles of greed.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) October 20, 2020
Few things rile me more than the idea of a European Super League. Put that in a bin, seal it with impenetrable steel and dump it in the deepest part of the Atlantic.
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) October 20, 2020
It’s fine for European football and competition to evolve, but not at expense of domestic football. It plays a key role in communities and cultures. There is a balance to be struck but as with anything a headline doesn’t share the detail. It’s the latter that matters. #LFC.
— Si Steers (@sisteers) October 20, 2020
Oh f***off https://t.co/kOWyZ7ySHL
— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) October 20, 2020
It is not a plan without its complexities and its one with a lot of moving parts, which you can read more from Sky Sports here, but it’s something certainly worth keeping an eye on as those at the top have been anything but quiet in their attempts to transform football as we know it.