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Press Release 21 December 2023 - A22 PROPOSES NEW OPEN EUROPEAN COMPETITION
64 CLUBS AND FREE LIVE VIEWING OF MATCHES
- CJEU ruling ends 69-year UEFA monopoly
- Clears path for clubs to organize and manage pan-European football competitions
- A22 announces new proposal for men’s and women’s midweek European Competitions with participation based on sporting merit with promotion/relegation and no permanent members. The new proposed competition will not interfere with domestic league calendars
- Proposal is a league system with 64 clubs across three leagues in men’s competition - 32 clubs across two leagues in women’s competition
- Fans able to view live matches for free on new state-of-the-art digital streaming platform
- Guaranteed minimum revenues for both clubs and solidarity payments at a level beyond that expected in the next cycle
Madrid, 21 December 2023 – The Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) today announced its ruling in the case regarding the anti-competitive practices of UEFA – ending its 69-year monopoly in cross-border club football in Europe.
The CJEU ruling finally gives professional clubs the ability to organize and manage competitions at European level for the first time since UEFA was founded in 1954.
Following today’s landmark ruling, A22 Sports Management announced a new proposal for the European Super League (“ESL”) competitions for both men and women. The proposal also includes innovative plans to launch the world’s leading direct-to-fan sports streaming platform, where billions of fans would be able to watch live all Super League matches for free.
We have won the right to compete. European club football is free. The near-70-year UEFA monopoly is finally over, and the Court’s decision has far-ranging and positive consequences for football. We will continue working with clubs, leagues and other stakeholders without fear of sanctions to create the best and most fan-centric football competitions in Europe. Critically we will maintain our commitment to domestic leagues and the football pyramid, and for the first time since 1955, pan-European competitions can now be governed by the participating clubs themselves as is the case in virtually all European domestic leagues.
- Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22
Creating The Most Exciting Football Competition In Europe
The new proposal for the ESL is the result of an extensive dialogue with a wide range of football stakeholders over the past 2 years including fans, players, clubs, leagues, policy makers, and other experts.
The new proposed men’s ESL competition is a league structure built on a true pan European pyramid and comprised of 64 participating clubs in three tiers. Key elements of the proposal include:
- The first two tiers, the Star League, and the Gold League, consist of 16 clubs each with the third tier Blue League comprised of 32 clubs.
- Participation based on sporting merit with no permanent members.
- Annual promotion and relegation between leagues. Promotion into the third tier Blue League would be based upon domestic league performance.
- Clubs to play home and away matches in groups of 8 resulting in a minimum of 14 matches per year.
- At season-end, a knockout stage will determine both the champions of each league and clubs to be promoted.
- No increase in match calendar days beyond those contemplated by existing competitions and mid-week match play will not interfere with domestic league calendars.
- In the initial year of the competition, clubs will be selected based upon an index of transparent, performance-based criteria.
- Strong Financial Sustainability rules and transparent enforcement processes will be put in place to ensure a level playing field between participating clubs.
The proposed women’s competition will include the same key elements as the men’s leagues including:
- Star and Gold Leagues of 16 clubs each with groups of 8, home and away matches with a guaranteed minimum of 14 matches per year.
- At season-end, a knockout stage will determine both the champions of each league and the clubs to be promoted.
- Annual promotion and relegation between the two leagues with promotion into the Gold League based upon domestic league performance.
To provide stability in the initial phase of the competitions, revenues during the first three years of the new competition will be guaranteed at a level beyond that expected in the next cycle. Solidarity payments would be 8% of League revenues with a minimum payment of €400m, exceeding by more than double the amount distributed from the current pan-European competition.
We believe our proposal will create the most exciting football competition in Europe and at the same time create a better, more sustainable football ecosystem, for both the men’s and women’s game. It would strengthen clubs with storied histories who are struggling to compete internationally while taking a big step forward in support of the football pyramid.
- Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22
State-of-the-Art Digital Streaming Platform to Offer Free Viewing of Live Matches
A22 proposes to create the leading direct-to-fan sports streaming platform in the world called Unify, where billions of fans will have the opportunity to view Super League matches for free. The digital platform will democratize access to live football and connect fans with their clubs (and other fans) at a scale never before achieved. In addition to live matches, the platform will offer highlights, match insights and analysis, club specific content and many other interactive options. All women’s league matches will also be distributed on the platform. This will put the women’s game center-stage with men’s competitions, enabling this growing and entertaining sport to be seen live around the world with the visibility it deserves.
The streaming platform will generate income from advertising, premium subscriptions, distribution partnerships, interactive services, and sponsors. Distribution partnerships will be an important component of the Unify experience to ensure ease of access for fans.
Football is the people’s game. The current fan experience with multiple TV subscriptions is becoming prohibitively expensive and needs fresh thinking. Other entertainment options are continuously improving their content offerings and football needs innovative ideas especially to attract young fans. We want to take this powerful and amazing competition to fans around the world in a way that provides easy access to the best matches and an unrivalled, cutting-edge fan experience. Putting fans first will accelerate football’s unique position as the only truly global sport.
- Bernd Reichart, CEO of A22
CJEU Rules to End UEFA Monopoly
The CJEU took a clear stance in the case, it stated: “The FIFA and UEFA rules on prior approval of interclub competitions are contrary to EU law.” It continued: “The FIFA and UEFA rules making any new interclub football project subject to their prior approval, such as the Super League, and prohibiting clubs and players from playing in those competitions, are unlawful.” A22 welcomes this decision and believes this is a historic day for football - its fans, its players, its clubs and its leagues.
Now that the CJEU has paved the way, A22 will discuss its proposal with all relevant stakeholders in the coming weeks with the aim of advancing the initiative as quickly as possible.
The complete proposal for a new European Super League will be presented today [at 12:00 CET] in a full media presentation available at https://youtube.com/live/HxJZk01R_Xo?feature=share.
About A22 Sports Management
A22 Sports Management is a company that was formed to sponsor and assist in the creation of the European Super League. In its advisory capacity, A22 focuses on the overall structure, operating and financial aspects of the potential new competition.
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