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Breaking down what exactly what Europe’s new Super League is

We go over what the Super League is and answer some questions you might have about it.

Lionel Messi of Barcelona in action during the Copa del Rey Final match between Athletic Club and Barcelona on April 17, 2021 in Seville, Spain. Sporting stadiums around Spain remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemicwaving to fansGovernment social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

News broke on Sunday that 12 of Europe’s most storied soccer clubs — Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Barcelona, and Real Madrid — plan to break away and form their own 15-squad international competition known as the Super League. The clubs hope to produce high-quality games between soccer blue bloods while generating an absurd amount of revenue. If the formation of the Super League is a success, European soccer could be in for a major change for the first time in over 70 years. Here are some of the questions you might need to be answered.

Who will compete in the Super League?

Twelve founding members have been named, but three more have yet to be chosen for founding member spots. Not only founding members will be able to participate in the competition, though. The Super League website says that five annual qualifiers will join the 15 founding teams. It’s unclear how qualifiers will be chosen at this point. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Paris Saint-Germain have been targeted, but none of the three clubs were willing to step away from domestic structures.

What will the competition’s format be like?

Super League members will be split into two groups of 10 for the group stage. The eight teams that make it out of the group stage will compete in a knockout tournament for four weeks until a champion is crowned. League matches will occur in the middle of the week, and competing members will remain involved with their respective domestic league. Permanent members cannot be relegated regardless of poor performance.

When will the Super League start having matches?

The Super League wants to get started as soon as possible and should be ready by the time the 2023-24 season comes around, according to ESPN.

How much money will Super League teams make?

The Super League has secured $6 billion in funding, and each of the founding teams will split a one-time payment of $4.2 billion for signing on. That means each team will rake in around $400 million. That’s more than four times what Bayern Munich made for winning the 2020 Champions League.

Is this a step toward a salary cap for the major clubs?

It could be. In the press release announcing the league, this phrase caught out our eyes.

“In addition, the competition will be built on a sustainable financial foundation with all Founding Clubs signing up to a spending framework.”

There is a crazy amount of money involved, but considering the kinds of costs we see for transfer fees, owners wouldn’t be owners if they weren’t trying to contain player costs.

Why is this so big for soccer?

Th Super League is comparable to if the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls broke away from the NBA to sign a big-time television deal that only broadcasts their games. None of these teams are outstanding every year, but they command large fan bases and could draw the world’s best talent in with lucrative contracts. The cities of teams that aren’t included could lose out on a ton of money. The cream of the crop is bound to follow the money, and fans want to watch stars play.

How is UEFA trying to prevent the Super League from forming?

UEFA issued a joint statement with the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, and member associations on Sunday, stating that players on teams joining the Super League will be banned from playing on the domestic, European, and world level. Players could even be banned from representing their national teams in FIFA competitions. This announcement isn’t one to be taken lightly, because the World Cup is the pinnacle of soccer. If UEFA doesn’t budge on this, quite a few top-class talents could be discouraged from joining or remaining with teams in the Super League. Whether the two sides can come to an agreement remains to be seen.

At its most basic, what is this all really about?