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Super League promoters announce plans for ’64 club’ tournament

The promoters of the breakaway European Super League on Thursday announced plans for a new 64-team men’s tournament following the European Court of Justice ruling that UEFA broke EU law in blocking the rival competition.

A22 Sports Management, which was set up in late 2022 to promote the Super League after its initial failed launch in April 2021, offered no details of when the planned competition might start or how much backing it enjoys among clubs.

But it said the tournament would feature promotion and relegation and would be broadcast live for free “on a new streaming platform” called Unify.

“Football is free. Free from the monopoly of UEFA, free to pursue the best ideas without fear of sanctions,” A22 CEO Bernd Reichart said in a streamed video presentation in reaction to the court’s ruling UEFA had used illegal tactics to stifle the initial project.

That project featured just 12 clubs and collapsed within days. The new plans announced on Thursday are for 64 teams to be split into three separate leagues, with 16 clubs in the top Star league, divided into two groups of eight.

A second tier, known as the Gold league, would also feature 16 clubs divided into two groups of eight, while the third tier, the Blue league, would include 32 clubs in four groups of eight.

“Participation will be based on sporting merit. There will be no permanent members, and clubs will remain committed to their domestic leagues,” Reichart claimed.

The proposal would see every competing club play a guaranteed 14 matches before the knockout stages.

A22 also announced that it would offer “a minimum of 400 million euros ($439m)” in solidarity payments to other European clubs, “more than double the current amount” distributed by UEFA.

It said that, for the first year, clubs would be selected based on “a set of transparent criteria and on performances”.

The matches would be played in midweek, exactly when the existing Champions League and other UEFA competitions take place.

A 32-team women’s competition is also planned by A22, which said its streaming platform would generate income from “advertising, premium subscriptions, distribution partnerships, interactive services and sponsors”.

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