US billionaire discusses European super league with UK soccer billionaires

Soccer CorporatizationAn American billionaire is attempting to lure Europe’s elite clubs to form a continental super league

Officials from some of the English Premier League’s biggest clubs met with American billionaire Stephen Ross in London in March for preliminary discussions on forming a European Super League, according to a report at the time in The Sun.

The British newspaper claimed that Manchester United’s Vice Chairman Ed Woodward, Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, City’s head executive Ferran Soriano and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre all convened at the Dorchester Hotel with Ross.

Ross’ proposals could pose a big threat to the future of domestic competitions across Europe, such as the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A and the German Bundesliga, as it could result in the divisions’ bigger sides forming a breakaway continental league.

On the other hand, the plan could greatly benefit underachieving sides like Manchester United and Liverpool, who were both set to miss out on Europe’s Champions League due to their poor showings in the Premier League. Any such move would more than likely spell an end to current continental cups too.

Should Manchester United miss out on Champions League soccer this season, they face a significant loss in revenue with clubs receiving about US$16 million for reaching the group stage and then further financial incentives should they progress. While The Sun reports that Liverpool, which has a glittering past laden with trophies but are currently sitting 11th in the league, are enthusiastic about the idea as they remain a global name but rarely qualify for the elite competition.

Omitted from the meeting in London were Premier League leaders Leicester City and second-placed Tottenham Hotspur who have surprised many this season with their impressive form. David Gold, co-chairman of sixth place West Ham, who are set to move to London’s Olympic Stadium next season, told the Telegraph that the plan “would destroy football as we know it,” adding: “It’s so sad that five clubs all owned by foreigners are even considering it.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in 2009 that he believes a European Super League could become a reality within the next 10 years while Bayern Munich’s Chief Executive Christian Seifert welcomed the idea in January this year.

Stephen Ross, who made much of his US$6 billion fortune from real estate, has been the owner of the American football team Miami Dolphins since 2008. The American is said to be the brains behind the International Champions Cup, which was a series of friendly soccer tournaments between some of Europe’s top clubs held in the United States, Australia and China.

This content was originally published by teleSUR in early March, 2016

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