JP Morgan to finance breakaway European Super League
New league has been set up by 12 of Europe's biggest clubs as a rival to Uefa's Champions League
JP Morgan Chase & Co has said it is financing the new breakaway Super League that was announced by 12 of Europe's biggest football clubs on Sunday.
The Wall Street giant has committed €3.25 billion ($3.9bn) to getting the new league off the ground
Each of the clubs from England, Italy and Spain will receive a "welcome bonus" of up to €300 million.
"I can confirm that we are financing the deal, but have no further comment at the moment," a spokesman said in a statement to AFP on Monday.
Six Premier League teams – Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – are involved, alongside Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan.
According to one source, at least two French clubs are also set to join the new league, without revealing the clubs' identities.
The clubs, most of them saddled with debt and large wage bills, and hit hard by the pandemic, stand to benefit financially, with predictions that they will share billions of euros.
Accusations of greed and cynicism
The clubs were immediately accused of greed and cynicism and threatened with international exile by their own leagues as well as Uefa.
Organisers said in a statement that three more founding members would be announced, with a further five places up for grabs through a qualifying system each year and the inaugural edition to start as "soon as practicable".
The Super League announcement appeared to be timed to pre-empt Uefa's own scheduled unveiling of reforms to the Champions League on Monday, with an expansion to 36 teams from 32 and two 'wildcard' slots expected to be among the plans. There would be a minimum of 10 games for each team.
Uefa released a joint statement with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), La Liga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A describing the breakaway as "cynical".
The European Commission vice-president for promoting the European way of life said "a values-driven European model of sport based on diversity and inclusion" must be defended.
EU commissioner Margaritis Schinas added on Twitter:
"There is no scope for reserving it for the few rich and powerful clubs who want to sever links with everything associations stand for: national leagues, promotion and relegation and support to grassroots amateur football.
"Universality, inclusion and diversity are key elements of European sport and of our European way of life."
It remains to be seen what action, if any, the EU could take to prevent the breakaway nor that it would break any EU laws.
Fifa expressed its "disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures".
Chelsea book FA Cup final place
But noticeably there was no mention of a previous threat from Fifa to ban any players taking part in a breakaway from participating in World Cups.
The initial reaction from football authorities, fans and pundits was furious, with threats to ban participating clubs from domestic, European and world competitions.
"Our members and football supporters across the world have experienced the ultimate betrayal," the Chelsea Supporters' Trust said.
"This is unforgivable. Enough is enough," it added.
Updated: April 19, 2021 08:14 PM