European Premier League

European Premier League: What it could look like, the teams included, schedule

Football's biggest clubs are attempting to do a deal with FIFA to create a breakaway competition as soon as 2022

7:00am on Thursday 5th November 2020
Paul Macdonald

The European Premier League is a competition that has been proposed by some of the biggest and most powerful clubs in football, in collaboration with FIFA and the investment bank, JP Morgan.

Why do Man Utd, Liverpool want a European Premier League?

The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have been heavily pushing for a breakaway competition. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis they feel that they need to group together to protect their revenues as a collective and they feel that by playing each other on a regular basis, they can earn more.

Which teams would be included?

At the moment, it appears that only five of the 'Big Six' in England could be included from the beginning, but at the moment it's not clear who the five would be. Manchester United and Liverpool can consider themselves as certain to be involved but the other three spots would go to from Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City.

European PL competitors

CountryNo #Teams
England5 fromMan U, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs
Spain3Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico
Italy3Juventus, Inter, Milan
Germany2Bayern, Borussia Dortmund
France2PSG and one other, likely Lyon or Marseille

Real Madrid and Barcelona would of course be involved, with Madrid president Florentino Perez having long been an advocate of a breakaway competition, while as his last act as Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed that his club had already agreed to join a FIFA-backed competition.

From Italy AC Milan and Inter are still the biggest two clubs in the country outside of Juventus and they will be at the front of the queue for entry.

In Germany Bayern are a given while Dortmund would also be pushing hard for inclusion, while PSG are France's only real guaranteed competitor and if another were to join it would likely be either Lyon or Marseille.

In total 18 clubs are thought to be allowed to enter, making 17 matches in a round and 34 games in total.

Why are FIFA involved in a European Premier League?

FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin don't see eye-to-eye, with Infantino looking to increase FIFA's influence over the club game, and recently announced a 24-team Club World Cup that needs to be squeezed into the calendar somewhere.

Ceferin responded with the UEFA Nations League, and while both mean battle for control, it just means more and more matches for players. And Infantino knows that the club sides are where the money can be made; he has investment group JP Morgan ready to plunge an estimated £5bn into the project, with revenue recouped via future TV broadcast agreements.

What would it mean for current domestic leagues?

It's extremely hard to say. The Super League clubs have suggested pulling out of the League Cup on order to make room, and the tournament would of course directly replace the Champions League.

But 34 matches over and above 38 domestic league matches, plus domestic cup, seems incompatible and it remains to be seen how teams could conceivable compete in both in the current set-up.

And without the muscle of the big sides in these leagues, the television deals would likely see, in the short-term at least, a significant reduction in value, impacting the financial models of virtually every other club across European football.

When is the European Premier League set to begin?

The current plans which have been leaked - which FIFA and UEFA have been quick to deny - is pencilled in for 2022 but this seems extremely unlikely for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the continued uncertainty associated with coronavirus means that football would be extremely foolish to attempt restructuring without knowing what the immediate future holds. Tearing things up to being just under two years from now just seems far-fetched.

Furthermore, the European Club Association headed up by Andrea Agnelli, agreed to the current Champions League format through to the end of the 2023/24 season. All current TV deals, which clubs are relying upon with the absence of fans, are based around this schedule and even with Agnelli's ambition is seems wholly unlikely.

Will other teams be allowed to enter?

This is rudimentary scope for big teams from other leagues to gain access, such as Celtic, Rangers, Porto, Benfica, Ajax, Zenit and others.

But quite how they will gain access is wholly unclear. There is brief mention of a promotion and relegation structure but the founding members are likely to become exempt from this, therefore only these lesser teams could be moved in and out of the competition.

The plan, however, needs rounded out before it can even be presented as a logical idea that teams could sign up and agree to for the future of European football.

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