European Super League: What it could mean for Sunderland and their League One rivals in the short and long-term

Plans for a breakaway European Super League have got the entire footballing world talking – leaving supporters wondering what it could mean for their clubs.

Monday, 19th April 2021, 10:00 am

A host of the biggest names in Europe have announced their intention to create a new, midweek competition in what would be a dramatic shake-up of the footballing structure.

But while it’s important to note that nothing has been confirmed as of yet, the plans have certainly gathered plenty of attention.

So how could a club like Sunderland be affected by the plans in both the long-term and short-term? We take a look:

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Florentino Perez - chairman of the European Super League

What is the European Super League?

The European Super League is a proposed breakaway competition, that would in essence take the place of the UEFA Champions League.

However, the big difference comes in the fact that the competition will be governed by its founding clubs.

The proposed competition would consist of 20 teams, including 15 founding clubs and five other sides who can qualify annually based on their achievements in the previous season.

Two groups of ten would then feed into a knockout stage before an eventual winner was crowned.

The initial statement issued by the European Super League says that clubs would continue to play in their own domestic leagues – but that idea hasn’t been met kindly by domestic federations.

Who are the European Super League’s founding clubs?

13 clubs have signed-up as founder clubs of the European Super League.

They are: AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.

How have UEFA, the FA and the Premier League reacted to the European Super League plans?

The plans have been condemned by UEFA, the Premier League and the FA.

In a joint-statement, which was also signed by the La Liga and Serie A, the governing bodies said they ‘remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs.’

They also reiterated their stance that ‘the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.’

What could happen with the European Super League in the short-term that could affect Sunderland?

At this point, it’s unclear whether these plans will come to fruition – and when any potential changes would take effect.

There have been some preliminary reports that the six clubs from England would be expelled from the Premier League were this project pursued, which would in turn see teams bumped up divisions to fill the gap.

This could naturally benefit Sunderland as they look to climb back up the pyramid, but it is very much a hypothetical scenario at present.

And how could the European Super League plans affect Sunderland in the future?

Again, this is unclear given we do not know whether these plans will progress any further than an idea.

But if the European Super League does become a reality, then it could lead to a more competitive Premier League – with increased chances of qualification for Europe without the domination of the ‘Big Six’.

That’s some way off for Sunderland at present, but who knows what the future may hold under Kyril Louis-Dreyfus?

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