Another Vision for a New European Super League

///Another Vision for a New European Super League

Another Vision for a New European Super League

An overview of the EU Court ruling and A22’s Next Step

A22 Sports Management has been at the forefront of the proposed European Super League (ESL), an initiative recently impacted by the European Court’s decision against FIFA and UEFA’s attempts to block the league in 2021. This ruling, stating such actions were contrary to EU competition law, has brought renewed attention to A22’s efforts in spearheading the ESL.

As the management company announced a revised plan for the ESL within an hour of the European Court’s ruling, it is clear that its backers have behind the scenes wasted no time in laying commercial and format groundwork.

Originally, A22’s proposal for the ESL included 12 elite clubs from England, Italy, and Spain. This plan, however, faced a significant setback in 2021 due to strong public opposition and threats of sanctions from FIFA and UEFA. The recent court verdict has now legally empowered A22 to reconsider the league, albeit in a transformed landscape.

In a press release today (21 December 2023), the CEO of A22, Bernd Reichart, expressed that this ruling marked the end of a near-70-year UEFA monopoly, stating, “European club football is free… The Court’s decision has far-ranging and positive consequences for football.” He further emphasized the newfound autonomy of clubs, declaring, “Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures.”

The statement also detailed A22’s vision for a revamped ESL, aiming to involve 64 clubs in a men’s competition and 32 in a women’s competition. The proposed league system is designed to be based on sporting merit, with no permanent members, and would feature annual promotion and relegation. The men’s competition would include three tiers: the Star League and the Gold League, each with 16 clubs, and the Blue League with 32 clubs. Similarly, the women’s competition would have two leagues. This structure aims to ensure a level playing field and maintain connections to domestic leagues.

Central to A22’s proposal is the creation of a direct-to-consumer (D2C) digital streaming platform, named Unify. This venture represents a shift in sports broadcasting, focusing on digital accessibility and interactive fan engagement. Unify aims to offer free live streaming of ESL matches, including a segment dedicated to women’s football.

The inclusion of women’s sports in A22’s ESL proposal is a notable development. It suggests an acknowledgement of the growing significance of women’s football and aligns with wider efforts to promote gender equality in sports. However, the specifics of how this will be implemented and its impact on existing women’s football structures remain to be seen.

Despite the legal backing, A22’s plans for the ESL continue to face scrutiny from various football stakeholders. Concerns about the potential impact on domestic leagues, the competitive balance in European football, and the commercial aspects of the sport are still prevalent.

A22 Sports Management’s role in the development of the ESL and its associated media and women’s sports strategies reflect significant potential changes in European football. The recent EU court ruling has not only lent legal support to A22’s initiative but also highlighted the evolving dynamics of football governance, media rights, and the sport’s inclusivity. As the situation develops, the impact of these changes on the broader football ecosystem will be closely monitored by clubs, fans, and other stakeholders including NMC.


About the Author: