The Glazer family, controlling shareholders of Manchester United, are leading the charge to form a new breakaway European superleague according to new information from The Times.
The league would comprise 15 of the world’s top clubs, including six from England, plus five qualifying clubs each season.
Each of the 15 founding clubs would be offered up to £310 million to join the league and would earn a minimum of £130 million and maximum of £213 million a season (the maximum in the Champions League is £100 million).
The league would replace the Champions League and take place in midweek, with the clubs still also taking part in their domestic leagues.
‘Sources with knowledge of the Super League talks say United have been leading players in this, along with Real Madrid, AC Milan and Barcelona until the exit of Josep Bartomeu as president,’ The Times claims.
‘Liverpool have been involved in the talks too, but have taken more of a back-seat role.’
Despite years of speculation about a superleague, one has never materialised, although The Times claims that FIFA and UEFA are seriously concerned that it will happen this time.
‘In the past, Super League talk has been used by the leading European clubs as a tool to increase the pressure on Uefa to give them more money,’ however ‘Uefa and Fifa are now seriously alarmed by the emergence of concrete proposals for a breakaway Super League, and that has led them into a concerted effort to try to kill off the threat.’
That concerted effort to stop it happening involves a ban for any player taking part in the superleague from playing in the World Cup.
However, that might not prove to be enough to stop the Glazers from getting their way, as ‘recent developments in the European courts means that Fifa’s and Uefa’s right to impose such a ban may be open to legal challenges,’ The Times notes.
‘Furthermore, … the best players in the world of course want to play at a World Cup, but the clubs — and Fifa — also know the World Cup is nothing without them.’
The Glazers have always been unpopular with the club’s fans after they borrowed huge amounts of money against the club to fund its takeover, instantly plunging the once world’s richest club into millions of pounds of debt.
Their unpopularity could now spread to the fans from the rest of Europe’s top five leagues, as they push through a measure that would mean the rich get richer and the divide between the haves and have nots of football becomes even harder to breach.
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