Shortly before midnight, the ax fell. Twelve clubs have announced that they will secede by creating a Superleague, while the executive committee to act on the reform of the Champions League in 2024 was due to take place on Monday. These are six English clubs (Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal), three Italian clubs (Juventus, AC Milan, Inter) and the three greats of Spain (Real Madrid, Barça and Atlético Madrid). Three more will also be invited – reducing the number of founding members to 15 – in order to start “as soon as possible”.
Suffice to say that doubts remain around the identity of the other founding members. According to information from the daily El Mundo, PSG could enter the dance at a later date, as could Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. This Sunday, the club of the capital had yet publicly confirmed not to be in the game. A position then hailed by the Elysée as well as by UEFA. On the side of the supporters of the Superligue project, we are pushing in any case so that at least two French clubs participate each year, explains L’Equipe.
The hypothetical participation of PSG in this Superleague can be explained by the probable version of the project. From the 2022-2023 season (El Mundo talks about a start next August), it would not be fifteen but twenty clubs that would participate in this Superleague. Five stables – not founders – would therefore be invited annually. This could have convinced some clubs like PSG unfamiliar with the initial closed nature of the project. The competition would also be organized in the form of pools of ten teams each, at the end of which a system of playoffs would be organized.
The goal: “to provide better quality matches and generate additional resources for the entire football pyramid,” according to a statement released in the evening. Noting the decline in the overall audiences of the Champion’s League, due to the too large number of matches in the group stage, future participants in the Super League believe that there is room in Europe for such a competition and that ‘it will overwhelmingly satisfy football fans. The Team explains that an agreement with the investment bank JP Morgan has been reached on nearly 4 to 6 billion euros guaranteed for its launch.
Why do PSG seem (for now) to refuse to join in this matter? Far beyond his desire to win the Champions League with PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who has remained close to current UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, also has a vested interest in keeping the current competition afloat. BeIN Media Group, of which he is the president, in fact broadcasts the C1 in many territories.
To stay away from the Superleague project, PSG could lose big in the long term. The revenue in terms of ticketing, sponsorship and merchandising is likely to erode, in the absence of posters against European leaders. And this in a Champions League that would automatically lose value in the absence of its big clubs. At this rate, it’s difficult to attract or even keep a Neymar or a Mbappé. It is therefore not excluded that Paris, in the absence of an agreement between the secessionist clubs and UEFA, may decide to join the sling. And, in turn, the federations are opposed.