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The future of European football - a new attempt at the Premier League

The future of European football – a new attempt at the Premier League

Bernd Reichart wants to make a new move with regard to the Premier League. (A22 Sports Management / Boris Breuer)

The first attempt at the Premier League quickly slowed down. In April 2021, six clubs from England and three each from Italy and Spain announced that they would form a practically closed league. The project failed after 48 hours – the resistance of UEFA, fans, national leagues and politicians was too great.

Only Juventus Turin, Real Madrid and Barcelona have stuck with the idea and are pushing the idea even further. They founded the marketing agency A22 Sports for this purpose. Bernd Richart, former president of RTL Media Group, now leads this company as General Manager.

In sports talk, he disagreed with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who declared the Premier League dead. “I think we’ve been able to explain which aspects of the project have changed radically in the past few weeks, and why European football should really start with a dialogue, with radically changed assumptions,” Reichart said.

The European Court of Justice will make a groundbreaking decision

The European Court of Justice is currently dealing with the Premier League in a so-called preliminary ruling procedure. The main issue is whether UEFA is using its monopoly in an abusive and anti-competitive manner.

“If the status quo is not considered legal, then football should also go into the hands of clubs at European level, just like in the Bundesliga,” Reichart said.

Clubs are currently represented mainly in the lobby organization ECA. However, the Egyptian Chefs Association has a great say in UEFA’s decision-making bodies – particularly in the design of competitions, their marketing and the distribution of funds.

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Richart is now asking clubs to prepare for a legal decision against UEFA. “So the clubs have to agree: What’s next? What alternative can we create?”

One question is: “Is there a consensus about the problems? And do we want to work together on the solutions?” However, clubs will be “restricted” in the dialogue as UEFA rules rule out any discussion.

Reichart addresses problems in the current system

The new Super League marketer addressed issues with the current system under the UEFA umbrella, such as the lack of economic sustainability.

“It is important to understand that the European football system is no longer self-sufficient at the moment. Revenues and costs are not in a healthy relationship,” says Richart, arguing that many top clubs are losing money.

Responsible for this is, among other things, that UEFA did not adequately implement Financial Fair Play. Richart selected the permanent champions in the national leagues, the Premier League supremacy and waning interest among youngsters as other problems. “These are issues I would like to talk about,” Richart said, without mentioning any concrete solutions to these issues.

He described the new format of the Champions League, in which 36 clubs play in the league and can eventually reach the knockout stage through their status, as exaggerated and incomprehensible.

What role can national championships play

It’s not just about the Premier League, Reichart said, it’s about all European club competitions. UEFA currently hosts the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and European Conference League. “We are talking about an open system linked to national championships that guarantees promotions and relegations.”

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However, Reichart hasn’t said exactly how he imagines the ups and downs.

I am absolutely convinced that the club’s impressive athletic performance in the National League should enable him to go his own way in Europe.

But Richart also spoke of ‘planability’ and looking at how to ‘create forms within a sporting competition where one can grow better than the existing system’.

For the German Bundesliga and other national leagues, a system that only includes promotion and relegation would be a devaluation. Currently, placements in leagues are the only way to the European Cup, the only exceptions being the defending champions in the three competitions.

If there is an international system with promotions and relegations, it could also mean that some teams can “survive” in the Premier League without having to rely on the National League.

The German League, clubs and fans express their negative opinion

German clubs could also play a role for Richart. But how will he convince her? “First by explaining what has changed in our approach.” Officials in the Bundesliga, as well as in Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, have expressed their opposition to the new initiative.

Richart said he also wants to get fans involved. There should also be a “structured, structured and professional dialogue” via an online platform. In 2021, fans greatly contributed to the failure of the first attempt in the Premier League with widespread rejection.

Football supporters Europe wrote of the renewed push: “This is nothing new. It is the same intentions by the same people who are jeopardizing the European sporting model for the benefit of a handful of clubs. They have been rejected before but to be clear: the fans don’t want the European Super League.”

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