European Premier League: Talks take place over new £4.6bn tournament

From February 2019: Is a European Super League the future of football?

Talks have taken place over the creation of a new £4.6bn European Premier League, involving the top sides from across the continent.

Sources told the BBC that discussions are still at an early stage but the plan would involve replacing the Champions League with a new format.

Industry insiders confirmed talks involved Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

But the project is said to still have a "long way to go" and the deal "may not happen".

Reports suggestexternal-link five Premier League clubs, including champions Liverpool and Manchester United, have been approached by those behind the plan with more than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in negotiations about becoming founder members of the competition.

It has also been reported that the European Premier League would see 18 sides compete in a single league with the top sides taking part in a play-off to determine an overall winner and that world governing body Fifa is involved.

Last week Premier League clubs rejected 'Project Big Picture' - a proposal to reduce the league from 20 to 18 clubs and scrap the EFL Cup and Community Shield. It would also have seen more power transferred to the so-called 'big six' Premier League clubs.

European football's governing body Uefa said it opposed the plan.

"The Uefa president has made it clear on many occasions that Uefa strongly opposes a Super League.

"The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are non-negotiable. It is what makes European football work and the Champions League the best sports competition in the world.

"Uefa and the clubs are committed to build on such strength not to destroy it to create a super league of 10, 12, even 24 clubs, which would inevitably become boring."

'Last nail in the coffin'

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Association, said the idea of a European Super League shows that billionaire owners of clubs "are out of control".

"The latest reports of plots, allegedly involving Manchester United and Liverpool, to create a European Super League, expose the myth that billionaire owners care about the English football pyramid, or indeed anything other than their own greed," said Miles.

"This has to be the last nail in the coffin of the idea that football can be relied upon to regulate itself."

La Liga president Javier Tebas said: "The authors of that idea - if they really exist, because there is nobody actually defending it - not only show a total ignorance of the organisation and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets.

"A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organisers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they´re never official. These underground projects only look good when drafted at a bar at five in the morning"

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