The new boss of the failed European Super League (ESL) project expects it to be revived in just three years.
Following an angry backlash from fans and opposition from UEFA and other governing bodies, Premier League ‘Big Six’ clubs withdrew from the league, followed by Atletico Madrid, from Inter Milan and AC Milan.
Despite the controversial project collapsing within days, the league continued to operate as a corporate entity supported by the three remaining member clubs: Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.
A22 Sports Management, the company representing Super League clubs, is planning to relaunch the competition.
Bernd Reichart was appointed as the new chief executive of A22 on Tuesday and has been tasked with opening an “active and wide-ranging dialogue” across football, with the eventual aim of creating a new “sustainable sporting model” for European football.
“We want to reach out to stakeholders in the European football community and expand that vision. Even the fans will have a lot of sympathy for the idea,” Reichart revealed in an interview with the Financial Times.
“It’s a blank page. The format will never be an obstacle.”
Under initial plans, the 12 elite clubs that announced the breakaway ESL would have been guaranteed involvement regardless of their domestic league performance.
This “closed” approach has been widely criticized in football and Reichart admitted that changes would have to be made to the format for the league to succeed.
“There is a reassessment. There is a clearly stated move towards an open format and that permanent membership is not being considered,” Reichart added.
“We want to see whether or not there is a broader consensus on the issues facing European football.”
The three remaining ESL clubs are currently embroiled in legal action against UEFA and have accused the governing body of operating a monopoly in European football.
The ESL claims that UEFA and FIFA breached European Union competition law by opposing its creation.
UEFA, meanwhile, called the ESL a “threat to European football” and “a classic example of a cartel”.
The case is currently before the European Court of Justice, with a formal decision expected next spring.
Despite fierce opposition to the initial plans and the legal hurdles that remain to be overcome, Reichart says it is “reasonable” that a revised ESL could be launched in time for the 2024/25 season.
“European football is losing its leading role in world sport and clubs are falling behind in terms of opportunities,” Reichart told Reuters.
“The system has become quite unstable, it is no longer self-sufficient. I think the clubs should be able to decide their fate, because they also bear all the (financial) risks. Most clubs agree that this cannot continue. like that.”