Key figures from Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are hopeful that 2022 will prove to be a successful year in their attempts to reshape football with the launch of a European Super League
The project was launched in April last year but swiftly fell apart at the seams after nine of its 12 founding member clubs withdrew their support of the plans.
However, Madrid, Barca and Juve have continued to publicly back the controversial proposals and the project is now set to return with multiple reforms in a bid to win widespread support.
In October, the trio agreed on five key changes to the proposed competition rules – the first major move in their attempts to revive the idea.
That followed on from the three club’s jointly hiring a major London-based PR firm as they aimed to make a concentrated effort to change public opinion – after mass fan protests in the UK were the major factor in the original abandoning of the idea.
The Premier League ’s so-called ‘big six’ clubs of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all swiftly distanced themselves from the plans after a significant supporter backlash in April.
Italian giants Milan and Inter, alongside Spanish club Atletico Madrid, also confirmed they could no longer support the idea – leaving just three clubs left to cheerlead for it.
Madrid, Barca and Juve are now hopeful of relaunching the proposal this year and are discussing a legal approach that would create a sustainable project.
Last August, Florentino Perez, Joan Laporta and Andre Agnelli – the three respective top leaders of the clubs – held a meeting in which the foundations of a project in which they continue to believe was discussed.
Real Madrid president Perez is thought to be the driving force behind the proposals while Agnelli, CEO of Juventus, has been the most public proponent of the plans prior to their launch last year.
Laporta was elected as Barcelona president last March – following a decade-long absence from the post – and has put traditional rivalries with Perez and Madrid aside to join forces on this front, which would represent a clear break from UEFA.
The initial proposals were primarily to replace UEFA’s governance of European football including the current formats of the Champions League and Europa League.
Yet the move was hugely controversial and unpopular due to the fact it was guaranteeing that the most profitable clubs would automatically qualify and would remove the premise of sporting fair play and meritocracy.
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The trio of clubs subsequently hired major PR firm Flint to help up clean up the image of the idea and to create a sellable product that will not receive the criticism that the plans were subjected to upon their launch.
Flint have put together a presentation document entitled: “Paving the way to the Super League; strategies for reconstruction, the restart and the triumph.”
The PR firm are now set to engage in a major campaign which will portray UEFA as an “abusive monopoly” whilst portraying the Super League plans as the only alternative that can save the sport.
A court in Madrid ruled that UEFA should lift sanctions on clubs who continue to pursue the Super League project, while the Court of Justice of EU in Luxembourg are set to decide this year whether the project is legal.
The Super League may have been firmly rejected by fans across the UK last year with club officials withdrawing their support, but the project appears to be far from dead.