Despite earlier criticism from UEFA and other football governing bodies, twelve top European football clubs, including six English Premier League teams, have declared their intention to enter a new European Super League.
Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, as well as Barcelona, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid of Spain, and AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Juventus of Italy have all agreed to enter the European Super League, a new mid-week competition created by the 12 clubs.
The league will feature 20 clubs and will begin in August with two groups of ten teams playing home and away matches, with the top six teams of each group qualifying automatically for the quarter-finals.
Fourth and fifth place teams will participate in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final spots. To enter the final, which will be held as a single match at a neutral venue at the end of May, a two-leg knockout format will be used.
Florentino Perez, president of Real Madrid and the Super League's first chairman, stated: "We will assist football at all levels in its quest to reclaim its rightful position in the world. Football is the world's most global sport, with over four billion followers, and it is our duty as major clubs to cater to their needs."
UEFA and the football governing bodies of England, Italy, and Spain issued a statement opposing the initiative in advance, stating that they "will remain united in our efforts to avoid this cynical project, a project that is built on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs unity more than ever."
The governing body of European football has stated that it would consider all options open to prevent the league from taking place. It also stated that the clubs in question would be barred from competing in all other domestic, European, or international competition and that their players will be refused the ability to represent their countries.
Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter that the Super League "will be very detrimental for football" and that "before taking any further measures, the clubs involved must respond to their fans and the broader footballing community."
The 12 founding clubs, on the other hand, believed that a format for top clubs was needed in order to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial support for the overall football pyramid.
"The Super League will open a new chapter for European football by putting together the world's greatest clubs and players to face each other during the season, providing world-class competition and facilities, as well as improved financial support for the broader football pyramid," said Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice-chairman of the Super League.