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Big Six agree to join Super League

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/56795811

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Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are among 12 clubs who have agreed to join a new European Super League (ESL).

In a seismic move for European football, the Premier League clubs will join AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

The ESL said the founding clubs had agreed to establish a “new midweek competition” with teams continuing to “compete in their respective national leagues”.

It says the inaugural season “is intended to commence as soon as practicable” and “anticipated that a further three clubs will join” the breakaway.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Uefa and the Premier League condemned the move when news of it broke on Sunday.

In a statement, the ESL said: “Going forward, the founding clubs look forward to holding discussions with Uefa and Fifa to work together in partnership to deliver the best outcomes for the new league and for football as a whole.

“The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model.

“In recent months, extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions.

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“The founding clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid.”

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer will be a vice-chairman of the Super League.

He said: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world-class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”

What is the proposed format?

The league will have 20 teams – the 12 founding members plus the three unnamed clubs they expect to join soon and five sides who qualify annually according to their domestic achievements.

It will start in August, with midweek fixtures, and the clubs will be split into two groups of 10, who play each other home and away.

The top three in each group qualify for the quarter-finals, with the teams in fourth and fifth playing a two-legged play-off for the two remaining spots.

From then, on it will have the same two-leg knockout format used in the Champions League before a single-leg final in May at neutral venue.

More to follow.

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