Barcelona playing key role in format change to European Super League

NEWS

Joan Laporta has pushed for an open competition based on sporting merit

| sport

Jordi Carné

Barcelona have been the key club in pushing for the European Super League to pursue an open format. SPORT have learned that the Catalan club have actively worked for the new competition to have a structure based uniquely on sporting merit, which is one of the major issues that derailed the original project when it launched in April.

Barça was the last team to sign up for the Super League. Joan Laporta didn't want to misstep in his first months back in charge and made sure the club did not defend a project without a future. When he decided to give the green light to the creation of the competition, however, he committed 100%. And he took on a proactive role from that moment.

Things did not go well initially. The loss of support from some of the founders revealed deep problems. There were issues that the promoters admitted they got wrong but wanted to resolve to help make football stronger as a whole.

One of the most controversial points was the 'semi-open' format that guaranteed entry to the founding members, leaving just a few spots for teams to qualify on merit. The organisers realised that was a mistake quickly, given the reaction, and that there could not be fixed participants. Barça have led the way in that sense.

"The Super League is not parked, quite the opposite," Laporta told Diario SPORT. "It's alive and there's dialogue with agents across football. We're moving forward to create a more attractive competition for the world."

Effectively, the project has not been destroyed. It's been transformed. And Joan has taken on a significant role in the process.

More teams and countries

In the fifth point of a document leaked by Cadena SER this week, the Super League recognises "close ties with certain owners of state-owned clubs that are not members."

Beyond the five main European leagues, there are teams and governments of countries interested in supporting and promoting the project when the judicial process ends and the conflict against UEFA is resolved. In fact, some of them have considered that the body chaired by Aleksander Ceferin is a monopoly that needs shaking up.

Cadena COPE reported on Tuesday that the Spanish state's legal position was in favor of UEFA and the 55 federations that comprise it. Super League sources, however, assure that the only question that the government has fough for is precisely the one corresponding to the format.

That they opposed the initial idea of not taking into account exclusively sporting merit (something that has already been decided to modify), but has not defended UEFA at any other point.

The matter, be that as it may, will go on for a long time. No firm movements are expected in the coming weeks from the founders, who will continue working quietly to define a project that does not yet have a specific structure.

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