Plenty of eyebrows have been raised with the news that Manchester United and Liverpool are two of the teams in talks with FIFA over a revolutionary new competition.
The prospective 'European Premier League' is being backed by a £4.6bn financial package and could see football as we known it completely change.
Elite clubs from across the continent are believed to be in negotiations over taking part in the lucrative tournament, and if things go smoothly it could get underway as soon as 2022.
There is undoubtedly plenty to discuss, so here is everything we know so far about the prospective new league…
What is being proposed?
Sky Sports broke the news on Tuesday afternoon that many of the elite clubs around Europe have been in talks with world powerhouses FIFA over the prospect of taking part in a completely new competition named the European Premier League.
Crucially, this has nothing to do with UEFA, who are in charge of the biggest current European competition, the Champions League.
The proposal is for up to 18 of the continent's biggest and most successful clubs to take part in a tournament which would involve fixtures played throughout the regular European season.
This means that, in theory, the likes of United and Liverpool could still take part in the Premier League, although it is not yet clear how exactly fixtures for both would be squeezed in over a year.
The top-placed teams in the league would play a knockout tournament, with the eventual winners given a prize which could be worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
Wall Street bank JP Morgan are said to be negotiating a debt package which could be worth up to an eye-watering £4.6bn in order to make the league happen.
Who could take part?
United and Liverpool's part in talks has been confirmed by Sky, but Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have also reportedly been approached with regard to participating.
However, it is believed the maximum number of English side permitted to enter the competition would be five, meaning one of those mentioned would miss out.
Elsewhere across Europe sides from Spain, Italy, Germany and France are believed to also be in talks, meaning giants such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich and PSG are likely involved.
What has the reaction been like?
Mixed, to say the least.
At a time where a significant number of smaller clubs are struggling to survive due to the coronavirus crisis, some have hit out at what is perceived to be a cynical attempt for the elite clubs to extend their wealth further to the detriment of others.
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher made his feelings clear by simply tweeting: "Oh f*** off", while La Liga president Javier Tebas said: "These 'underground' projects only look good when drafted in a bar at five o'clock in the morning."
Supporters also took to Twitter in their masses to hit out at the plans, with many of them fearing for the future of both English football in general and for their specific clubs.
Has anything like this been proposed before?
Plenty of times, actually.
Almost every year it seems there are new ideas mapped out for a way in which the biggest clubs could break away to form their own competition.
As early as the 1990s it has been discussed, while Arsene Wenger was among those who suggested it could become a reality in the near future while he was still in charge of Arsenal in 2009.
Nothing has, until now, ever properly taken off however, and UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin hit out at Real Madrid president Florentino Perez last year after he reportedly approached financiers about backing the creating of two world leagues.
"It would be hard to think of a more selfish and egotistical scheme," Ceferin said at the time.
"It would clearly ruin football around the world; for the players, for the fans and for everyone connected with the game — all for the benefit of a tiny number of people."
Why do FIFA want to take over?
This one is not too hard to predict – money, of course.
UEFA and FIFA have not always seen eye-to-eye, and the latter clearly see the opportunity to swoop after UEFA announced they would be cutting competition prize money over five years to offset the losses as a result of the pandemic.
The European Premier League could become the most lucrative tournament in the world of sport – and FIFA want to be a part of it.
When could we learn more?
United and Liverpool have refused to comment on the news, but considering the theory is that the competition could be up and running by 2022, you would expect things to get moving quickly.
According to Sky, one industry figure has claimed a formal announcement about the plans could be possible by the end of this month.
If that does happen, we could be set for a massive amount of fallout as the world takes in the magnitude of what could be to come.
Source: Read Full Article