By Adedapo Adesanya
Late on Sunday, 12 teams confirmed they intend to join the European Super League as founders. The Premier League’s Big Six; Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United and Tottenham and will be joined by Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid, with Italian heavyweights, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan, will all found the new competition.
The new format has been put forward as a rival to the UEFA Champions League, not as a replacement to domestic leagues, but there are fears it could have wider ramifications.
The Union of European Football Association (UEFA), in a joint statement with the Football Associations of the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and Italian Serie A, blasted the plans and did not rule out taking legal action over the proposals, insisting players involved would be banned from all other competitions at domestic, European or world level and could be prevented from representing their national teams.
The proposal also met fierce criticism from the worlds of sport and politics. British Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, said “I think it’s wrong, I think it’s something that’s going in the wrong direction for football – for great English and British clubs – and it’s going in the wrong direction for fans,” he said.
“I can’t think that it’s the right way forward.”
He added: “Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state, is going to be making a statement a bit later on today about some of the things we could consider to try and encourage people to think of another approach.
“People in this country are committed to the success of their local clubs. I don’t think you want to deracinate it (club football) and create this European Super League, which would basically take a lot of the cash away from clubs that really need it.”
Other political figures who have raised an issue include the London Mayor, Mr Sadiq Khan and President of France, Mr Emmanuel Macron, who all condemned the plans before the proposals were confirmed.
Former Manchester United captain, Gary Neville, also l called for his former club, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool to be relegated as punishment for their involvement. Others including Mesut Ozil, Luis Figo, Ander Herrera among many have also lambasted the decision.
European Super League Format
The Super League’s founding clubs plan to start the competition from the 2022-23 season. Here is what they hope it will look like.
The annual competition will be composed of 20 clubs each season. That number will be made up of 15 “Founding Clubs”, 12 of which were confirmed last night with three additional to join. It has been rumoured that Bayern Munich and Paris St. Germain (PSG) will also join but are bidding their time.
Plans include one-off payments of up to £303 million to the 15 founder members, although only six will receive the full amount.
Five places will be open to clubs who qualify annually based on achievements in the prior season.
The Super League will start in August, with two groups of 10 clubs playing home and away.
The top three from either group all progress to the quarter-finals, with clubs fourth and fifth in either group taking part in a two-legged playoff for the final places in the last eight.
The knockout stages will replicate the current Champions League format, with two-legged ties leading up to a final held at a neutral venue.
All matches will be played midweek possibly with the exception of the final with the founders planning to continue participating in their own domestic leagues, which the founding clubs insist “remains at the heart of the club game”.
Clubs involved would play between 18 and 23 Super League matches per season.
Clubs Renounce ECA Membership
Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal resigned from the European Club Association (ECA) with Manchester United Chairman, Mr Ed Woodward, stepping down from his role with UEFA following the fallout. This means that Mr Woodward will no longer hold his UEFA role.
Arsenal’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Vinai Venkatesham, also resigned from his position on the ECA board while Chelsea today confirmed its resignation.
What is the ECA?
The European Club Association is a body representing the interests of professional association football clubs in UEFA. It is the sole such body recognised by UEFA and has member clubs in each UEFA member association.
Fresh Development and Expectations
As the plot continues to thicken, Serie A clubs will meet today to talk about the Super League situation but Juventus, Inter and AC Milan will not attend the meeting.
Spanish clubs are planning for a meeting on Thursday to discuss Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid position after joining the competition.
UEFA’s President, Mr Alexander Ceferin, confirmed that: “The players that will play in the Super League will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros. They will not be allowed to play for their national teams.
“These are so-called big clubs, it is clear that the big clubs of today were not always big clubs. Juventus were in Serie B, Man United before Sir Alex Ferguson was I don’t know where.
“We will do the sanctions we can do within the law, of course.”
They are also a likelihood that punishment will also be given to the clubs if talks fail in the coming days.
Business Post will continue to monitor the situation.
Men’s Football: 18,068 Players Switched Clubs in 2021—Report
By Adedapo Adesanya
There was a 5.1 per cent increase in the number of international transfers in men’s professional football as a total of 18,068 players switched clubs in 2021, signalling a return to the levels of 2019 despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This was contained in the Global Transfer Report 2021 published by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA), which charts the transfers of men’s and women’s players in both professional and amateur football.
No fewer than 54,739 transfers across borders were recorded in 2021 out of which 19,372 involved professionals (men and women) while another 35,367 involved amateurs.
These 18,068 transfers involved a new record high of 4,544 clubs from 185 different associations, compared to 4,162 clubs in 2020, with 15,617 players representing 179 different nationalities.
A continuous trend was seen as transfer fees decreased for the second consecutive year in 2021 to $4.86 billion, a fall of 13.6 per cent from 2020 and 33.8 per cent from the all-time high of 2019.
Another key positive from the report showed that women’s football is still booming
According to the world’s football governing body, women’s football continued to go from strength to strength in 2021, with the number of clubs involved in international transfers rising from 347 in 2020 to 414 last year, a 19.3 per cent increase.
This reflects the impressive strides being made as more and more female players are turning professional every year.
About 1,304 international transfers were recorded in the year under review, an increase of 26.2 per cent compared to the previous year, which had also recorded an increase of 23.3 per cent.
In contrast to the men’s game, spending on transfer fees in women’s professional football increased by 72.8 per cent $1.2 million in 2020 to $2.1 million in 2021.
Amateur Football Transfer Impressive
Transfers in the vast world of amateur football have been recorded in TMS since July 2020, which means that the data covered an entire calendar year for the first time.
The results from 2021 are certainly impressive, with 17,571 clubs from 201 member associations involved in the transfers of 35,367 amateur players (men and women) of 202 different nationalities.
Germany recorded the highest numbers of both incoming (5,122) and outgoing (2,651) transfers.
For each of the above categories, the Global Transfer Report 2021 includes analyses on the players’ nationalities, ages, and movement between confederations and associations.
For professional players and in addition to the list of top transfers, the report also provides further analysis in respect of employment contracts while also presenting the top performers at confederation, association and club levels.
The report also features a complete list of the number of transfers in each member association for each of the respective categories.
Prudential Africa Becomes Official Insurance Partner of AFCON 2021
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A foremost underwriting company, Prudential Africa Plc, has become the official insurance partner of the ongoing 33rd edition of Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 in Cameroon.
This followed the sponsorship deal signed by the organisation with the Confederation of African Football (CAF), the highest football governing body on the continent.
Speaking at a press conference to announce the sponsorship, the Chief Representative Officer, Prudential Northern Africa Region, Mr Eric Mboma, noted that the partnership underscores the company’s commitment to the African continent.
“As we grow our business in Africa, we also want to support the passion and talent of its people. Africans share a common love for football and we are honoured to be part of a tournament that unites the continent and brings together the brightest talents of African football,” he said.
Mr Mboma added, “Through sports, Prudential wants to encourage people to stay active and lead more healthy lifestyles. As a life insurer, we believe that health and wellness are important for people to live fulfilling lives.”
Commenting on the deal, the General-Secretary of CAF, Mr Véron Mosengo-Omba, stated that, “We are excited and pleased to have on board Prudential Africa as a partner. We share a common purpose in our commitment to developing local talent as well as driving prosperity for the people of Africa.”
AFCON 2021 started on January 9 and will run till February 6, 2022.
Prudential Africa is a global financial services group providing life insurance, pensions and asset management products and services to approximately 20 million customers in Asia and Africa.
It has life insurance operations in eight countries across Africa: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria.
For nearly a decade, the life insurer has been providing affordable insurance and health solutions. Today, it serves more than 1.7 million customers through a distribution network of more than 13,000 agents and 600 branches.
Newcastle Sign Chris Wood from Burnley to Boost Squad
By Adedapo Adesanya
Newcastle United Football Club have announced the signing of New Zealand striker, Chris Wood, from Burnley for an undisclosed fee.
Wood signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Magpies, arriving in time for the club’s Saturday’s Premier League clash with Watford at St. James’ Park.
The 30-year-old becomes the Magpies’ second signing of the January transfer window following the arrival of England international full-back, Kieran Trippier, from Atlético Madrid.
Wood will wear the number 20 shirt – the first number he wore for his country. The Auckland-born forward has scored 27 goals for the All Whites in 60 international appearances.
Chris Wood said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I’m delighted to be a Newcastle United player.
“I have played at St. James’ Park a few times and it’s an amazing place, so to have the chance to represent this club with those incredible supporters behind me and my teammates is very special.
“The club and manager have been first class during this process, and I really can’t wait to get onto the pitch and repay the faith they have in me, especially with a vital part of the season ahead of us.”
Newcastle United head coach, Eddie Howe, while reacting stated that: “Chris is an important signing for us at a crucial time and I’m very pleased we have been able to move quickly and bring him here.
“He is a very dangerous attacking threat, has a physicality and character that I really like, and he has vast experience in the Premier League. He will be a great fit for us.”
Wood began his career in his native New Zealand with clubs in Auckland and Hamilton before a successful trial saw him move to England with West Bromwich Albion in 2008.
After impressing at youth level and breaking into the first team, he enjoyed loan spells with Barnsley, Brighton, Birmingham City, Bristol City, Millwall and Leicester City, eventually completing a permanent switch to the Foxes in January 2013.
He helped Nigel Pearson’s side to the Championship title during the 2013/14 season and was loaned to Ipswich Town in February 2015 before a move to Leeds United followed that summer.
Wood netted 44 goals in 88 appearances in a Leeds shirt – including an injury-time equaliser at St. James’ Park during the Magpies’ successful Championship-winning season – and he was soon snapped up by Burnley in summer 2017 for a then-club-record fee.
He moves to St. James’ Park after four-and-a-half years at Turf Moor, during which he helped the Clarets to become an established top-flight side with 49 goals in 144 Premier League appearances.
Now with his addition to the relegation-threatened club, he will be hoping to help turn the Magpies fortune around.
The club is currently 19th on the English Premier League 2021/2022 log with just one win out of 19 games played so far.
The Saudi Arabia government recently acquired Newcastle from British retail tycoon, Mr Mike Ashley after a prolonged legal fight involving concerns about piracy and rights abuses and will hope to inject enough funding that will make the club competitive.
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