Several of Europe’s top clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City and Bayern Munich, said on Thursday they remained committed to playing in UEFA-run competitions following a proposal for a new 64-team European club competition by Super League backers A22 Sports.
In a long-awaited ruling, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled that UEFA “abused a dominant position” in its ban on the Super League, saying its attempts to ban the Super League were illegal.
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Hours later, A22 Sports chief executive Bernd Reichart outlined plans for a three-league competition with 64 clubs for men and a two-league competition with 32 clubs for women – both of which would replace the UEFA Champions League and Women’s Champions League.
The proposals were backed by Real Madrid and Barcelona but faced opposition from some of Europe’s biggest clubs, as well as the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, the players’ union FIFPRO, UEFA, FIFA and the European Club Association (ECA). .
“Manchester United said it remains committed to playing in UEFA-run competitions despite Thursday’s EU court ruling that European football’s governing body and FIFA breached EU law by preventing the formation of a Super League”, United said in a statement.
“Our position has not changed. We remain fully committed to participating in UEFA competitions and working positively with UEFA, the Premier League and other clubs through the ECA for the continued development of the European game.”
Manchester City, winners of the Champions League for the first time last season, echoed the position of their neighbours.
“Manchester City Football Club has confirmed in 2021 that it has formally entered into withdrawal procedures from the group developing plans for the European Super League,” City said in a statement. “Our position has not changed. We remain committed to these values of European football and will continue to work with other clubs through the ECA and participate in UEFA competitions.”
Bayern also rejected the proposal, saying it “represented an attack” on domestic football in Europe.
“The Bundesliga forms the basis of FC Bayern, just as all national leagues form the basis of European football clubs,” the club said. “Therefore, it is our duty and our deep conviction to strengthen them, not to weaken them. We also support European club competitions under the umbrella of UEFA. So once again it is very clear: the door to FC Bayern’s Superliga remains closed.”
French champions Paris Saint-Germain, who rejected an initial bid in 2021, reiterated their opposition to Super Ligue on Thursday.
“Paris Saint-Germain completely and utterly rejects any so-called Super League project, which has been the case since day one and will always remain so,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.
“As a proud European institution, PSG supports the principles of the European Sporting Model… and works with all recognized European football stakeholders – most importantly for fans and players.”
Chelsea, winners of the 2012 and 2021 Champions League, said: “We firmly believe that by working with the Premier League, the FA, other European clubs through our strong relationship with the ECA and with UEFA and FIFA, we can, together, continue to grow the European game for the benefit of all.”
Atletico Madrid said the proposal did not have the support of most clubs in Europe.
“The European football family does not want the European Super League,” Atletico said. “Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain [except Real Madrid and Barcelona] they don’t want the Super League. We support the protection of the European football family, the protection of the domestic championships and, through them, the qualifications for the European competitions on the ground every season.”
Reuters contributed to this report.