Sources have told ESPN that New York-based investment bank JP Morgan will underwrite the project, with $6 billion distributed as loans to the teams
Fifteen of Europe's biggest clubs are in talks to launch a European Super League, planned to start in time for the 2023-24 season, with a $6 billion (£4.3 billion) fund backing the project, sources have told ESPN.
If the initiative is successful, it would threaten the existence of the Champions League -- football's biggest club competition -- with UEFA due to announce on Monday a new 36-team format for the tournament designed to stave off attempts by the game's top clubs to break away, reports ESPN.
As reported by UK newspaper The Times, English top-flight clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are among 11 European teams to have signed up to the Super League plan.
ESPN has been told by a person familiar with the blueprint that the proposed framework involves a total of 20 teams, with 15 permanent members who cannot be relegated.
A further five teams will be rotated in and out of the competition, based on performance, but the permanent members will include six Premier League clubs, three from La Liga, three from Italy's Serie A, two from the Bundesliga and one from France's Ligue 1.
Sources have told ESPN that New York-based investment bank JP Morgan will underwrite the project, with $6 billion distributed as loans to the teams.
After months of secret talks, the breakaway teams — which include Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea in England, and Juventus and A.C. Milan in Italy — could make an announcement as early as Sunday, according to multiple people familiar with the plans, reports The New York Times.
The report also said, at least 12 teams have either signed up as founding members or expressed interest in joining the breakaway group, including six from England’s Premier League, three from La Liga in Spain and three from Italy’s Serie A, according to the people with knowledge of the plans.
Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham are reportedly part of the European Super League plans.— B/R Football (@brfootball) April 18, 2021
The Premier League has condemned it: pic.twitter.com/Jhd3Baoijw
Italy's Serie A held an emergency board meeting on Sunday after reports that three leading clubs, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan, along with broadcaster DAZN, had been involved in the European Super League talks.
UEFA threaten to ban breakaway clubs from all competitions
Meanwhile. European soccer's governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League, reports Reuters.
In a joint statement with Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider "all measures", including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.
UEFA have threatened to ban players from playing in any other competition at the domestic, European or world level if they take part in a European Super League. pic.twitter.com/3rv35QlhBV— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 18, 2021
UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries "may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League".
"If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we....(and) also FIFA and all our member associations - will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever," UEFA said.
"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way," the statement added.
In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that "any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation" - meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.
Sunday's UEFA statement said: "The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.
"We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough."