Arsène Wenger predicted about European Super League in 2009 | inside World Soccer


Arsène Wenger predicted about European Super League in 2009

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger speaks during an Arsenal Press Conference at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on May 2, 2018 in Madrid, Spain
Photo: Catherine Ivill/GETTY IMAGES

Former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger predicted a breakaway European league involving only the tops clubs on the continent around 12 years ago and his prophecy is coming to fruition.

Elite teams from across the continent have stated that they intend to introduce a new competition that allows them to battle among themselves.

Twelve clubs - including the Premier League's so-called "big six" - are part of the controversial plans to create the breakaway competition which would bring about the biggest changes to the game in a generation.

It will take place in mid-week, with teams continuing to compete in their respective national leagues.

The 15 founding members will be guaranteed entry each year - regardless of how they perform domestically .

Five more clubs will be included based on qualification criteria, and the league will be split into two groups of 10 with the top four automatically progressing through to the knockout stage.

A statement from the European Super League (ESL) read:

Twelve of Europe's leading football clubs have today come together to announce they have agreed to establish a new mid-week competition, the Super League, governed by its Founding Clubs.

AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.

It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.

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.

Major US bank JP Morgan, a former employer of United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, are debt financing the new league which will see founding clubs receive £3.03 billion.

The new annual tournament will provide significantly greater economic growth and support for European football via a long-term commitment to uncapped solidarity payments which will grow in line with league revenues.

These solidarity payments will be substantially higher than those generated by the current European competition and are expected to be in excess of €10 billion during the course of the initial commitment period of the clubs.

Players from the past and present, supporters and sporting organisations across the planet have been quick to condemn the actions of sides that stand accused of acting in their own interests.

However, one man who in fact predicted a similar concept to the Super League some time ago was legendary Gunners boss Wenger.

The Frenchman proved to be ahead of the curve when it came to the future of European football.

Wenger proclaimed in 2009 that a European Super League would be a reality within ten years - though the idea seems to have finally formed two years later than his expected window.

The three-time Premier League winner also claimed how he felt the plans were already in place, suggesting the recent news has been a long-time coming.

I see more a European league developing over time rather than one team going out of the country. The national leagues will survive but maybe in 10 years, you will have a European league.

I'm not sure 100 percent that I'm right but I feel inside our game there are some voices behind the scenes coming up to do something about that, especially if the rules become too restrictive for these clubs.

Personally, I believe only in sporting merit. So, if such a league is created, it has to be by transfers up and down, although that is practically very difficult to resolve and we do not want to kill the national leagues.

Teams would have to play in both the European league in midweek and the national league at the weekend. It means all these teams have two teams.

The way we are going financially is that even the money that will be coming in from the Champions League will not be enough for some clubs because they spend too much money.

Now that the plan has come to fruition, Wenger told talkSPORT that he is equally against the proposal.

I would say that's a bad idea. Football has to stay united, it's the most important thing. It's based on sporting merit and overall to respect the history that has been built from European football.

I believe, personally, that this idea will not go far. I don’t know what exactly is behind (it). There is a more dangerous idea behind it and it's a big threat for the Premier League.

When I was still in charge it was a lot going on from other countries to diminish the dominance of the Premier League and a project like that would certainly accelerate that.

Not all of the top clubs on the continent are on board with the plans, though, with FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich having openly admitted to rejecting invitations to the competition.

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