Liverpool and Manchester United are in talks over the creation of a breakaway European Premier League, according to a report by Sky News.
The Premier League giants could be among as many as five English clubs to join the competition, and the report claims more than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have been involved in negotiations.
Wall Street bank JP Morgan is said to have prepared a $6billion (£4.6bn/€5.1bn) funding package to help launch the competition.
Sky News said Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham had also been approached over joining.
A Liverpool spokesperson offered no comment on the story when approached by Stats Perform, other than to describe it as “very speculative”. City and United are yet to reply to requests for comment.
FIFA was reported to have given its support to the proposals, although the president of world football’s governing body, Gianni Infantino, said last December: “FIFA is not backing any project.”
UEFA has not gone on the record publicly over what appears to be a challenge to the supremacy of its Champions League. Its president, Aleksander Ceferin, last year condemned the concept of world leagues as “selfish and egotistical”.
European football’s governing body posted an interestingly timed tweet as the European Premier League reports broke, flagging the confirmed destinations for the next four Champions League finals through to 2024.
As we prepare for the start of the @championsleague group stages, here’s a reminder of where the next four finals will take place.
— UEFA (@UEFA) October 20, 2020
The existing Champions League structure is set to be revamped after the 2024 campaign, with plenty of posturing around the elite club game in Europe focused upon what shape this might take, although the backers of the European Premier League purportedly have ambitions to launch as early as 2022.
The latest talk of a European league follows the failure of Project Big Picture in England, a raft of proposed reforms initially backed by Liverpool and United that would have sanctioned a substantial coronavirus bailout package and increased financial support for the English Football League in exchange for increased voting rights on Premier League matters for the ‘big six’ clubs.
Following an emergency meeting last week, the Premier League said clubs had “unanimously agreed” that Project Big Picture would not be “endorsed or pursued”, while committing to a strategic plan to examine the future funding of English football.
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