Everything you need to know about the proposed ‘European Premier League’

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Liverpool and Manchester United are reportedly in talks to form a new European Premier League, involving the top sides from across the continent.

According to Sky News, the new tournament is backed by FIFA and Wall Street giant JP Morgan, who are assembling a £4.6billion funding package.

We’ve brought you the lowdown on the proposals and what they could mean for the future of the sport.

What is the European Premier League?

FIFA’s proposed tournament would reportedly have 18 teams and involve home and away fixtures played during the regular European season, possibly usurping the UEFA Champions League.

A typical league format would follow before the top-performing teams advance to a knockout competition to conclude the tournament.

Teams would be paid ‘lucrative sums’ to join the competition and prize money for the winning side is expected to be worth hundreds of millions of pounds each year.

While the proposals would create a congested fixture calendar, it is believed that clubs would still compete in their traditional domestic leagues.

A formal announcement about the plans could be possible by the end of this month and there is a provisional date of 2022 for the European Premier League to get underway.

Which clubs are involved?

After playing a prominent role in the Project Big Picture proposal, Liverpool and Manchester United are both in talks about joining the FIFA-backed tournament.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham are seen as other potential candidates. It is mooted that five English teams could be involved, meaning one of the traditional ‘big six’ would miss out.

Teams from France, Germany, Italy and Spain are also in negotiations about becoming founder members of the competition.

READ: ‘Theft of hope’: What the papers are saying about Project Big Picture

How have people responded?

– “The latest reports of plots, allegedly involving Manchester United and Liverpool, to create a European Super League, expose the myth that billionaire owners care about the English football pyramid, or indeed anything other than their own greed,” Football Supporters’ Association chief executive Kevin Miles said.

– “The big issue that I have with it, is that at this moment in time, in the middle of a pandemic and when football is on its knees at so many different levels, the idea that a $6billion package is being put together to set up a new league when lower clubs are scrambling around to pay wages and stay in existence,” Gary Neville told Sky Sports News.

“It’s another wound for football. It doesn’t feel like the right time to be talking about this. The leak probably doesn’t suit Manchester United or Liverpool at this moment in time as they’re seen as the big, bad bullies.

“I’m for progression of football, with new competitions and new formats, but we have got to look after the fabric of the game and what it means to the communities in this country.”

– “The authors of this idea, if they really exist because there is nobody actually defending it, not only show total ignorance of the organisation and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets,” La Liga president Javier Tebas told ESPN.

“A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organisers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they’re never official. These ‘underground’ projects only look good when drafted at a bar at 5 in the morning.”

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