The new league has already been criticised by politicians, former players, and other football bodies.
Twelve of the leading football clubs in Europe have agreed upon establishing a new Super League, despite the widespread criticism of these plans.
An official statement from the new league has said that: “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.”
Florentino Pérez, the president of Real Madrid and the first chairman of the Super League, has 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.”
This comes after Rebecca Welch has become the first ever female referee to be appointed to officiate a game within the English Football League, it has now been announced. Welch, who is 37 years old, will be presiding over the League Two clash between the teams Harrogate Town and Port Vale that took place on Monday.
The ESL project is being launched to rival the UEFA’s Champions League format that currently dominates European football, and the announcement came just a day before UEFA was due to sign off on plans for an expanded and restructured version of their tournament.
The new European Super League has been criticised by politicians including the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as the Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer; some former players, including Gary Neville have also critcised the move.
Mr Johnson has said that the new football league would “strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country”.
He added: “The clubs involved must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville told Sky Sports: “I’m not against the modernisation of football competitions, we have the Premier League, the Champions League, but I think to bring forward proposals in the midst of COVID and the economic crisis for all clubs is an absolute scandal.
“United and the rest of the ‘Big Six’ that have signed up to it against the rest of the Premier League should be ashamed of themselves.”
“They should deduct six points off all six teams that have signed up to it. Deduct points off them all. To do it during a season? It’s a joke.”
UEFA, the FA, and the Premier League are among others to have expressed opposition, saying within a joint statement that they will “remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project”, adding: “We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this.
“This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”
This comes after 1.1 million people in private households in the UK have reported having long COVID, latest estimates show. The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) defined the condition as symptoms that lasted more than four weeks and are self-reported, rather than clinically diagnosed.
The Super League 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.
The Super League will begin in August with clubs participating in two groups of 10, playing home and away fixtures, some during the week, 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 then be staged as a single fixture at a neutral venue.
In exchange for their commitment to the ESL, founding clubs will be receiving an amount of €3.5bn (£3bn) to “support their infrastructure investment plans and to offset the impact of the COVID pandemic”, the league’s statement said.
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.