Twelve of Europe’s leading football clubs have agreed to establish a Super League, it has been announced.
A statement said: “AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, 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.”
The competition will see 20 participating clubs – 15 founding clubs and a further five teams able to qualify annually based on their achievements during the previous season.
It will begin in August with clubs participating in two groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, with the top three in each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Teams finishing fourth and fifth will compete in a two-legged play-off for the remaining quarter-final spots before a knockout format is used to reach the final at the end of May, which will be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
Club players will be able to continue competing in their national leagues and, as soon as possible after the men’s competition begins, a women’s league will also be launched.
Florentino Pérez, president of Real Madrid CF and the first chairman of the Super League said: “We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world.
“Football is the only global sport in the world with more than four billion fans and our responsibility as big clubs is to respond to their desires.”
Andrea Agnelli, chairman of Juventus and vice chairman of the Super League said: “Our 12 founder clubs represent billions of fans across the globe and 99 European trophies.
“We have come together at this critical moment, enabling European competition to be transformed, putting the game we love on a sustainable footing for the long-term future, substantially increasing solidarity, and giving fans and amateur players a regular flow of headline fixtures that will feed their passion for the game while providing them with engaging role models.”
Joel Glazer, co-chairman of Manchester United and vice chairman of the Super League said: “By bringing together the world’s greatest clubs and players to play each other throughout the season, the Super League will open a new chapter for European football, ensuring world class competition and facilities, and increased financial support for the wider football pyramid.”