European soccer split as 12 clubs launch breakaway league

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LONDON (AP) — A group of 12 European clubs split soccer on Sunday by announcing plans to walk away from the Champions League to create a breakaway competition, drawing an angry response and the threat of legal action from UEFA.

The moves to quit the existing structures in an apparent grab for more money and power include Real Madrid, Barcelona and the American owners of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. No German or French clubs have signed up.

“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,” said Joel Glazer, co-owner of Manchester United and vice chairman of the Super League.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez would be the founding chairman of the SL, which it said “is intended to commence as soon as practicable.”

“We will help football at every level and take it to its rightful place in the world,” he said. “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.”

The other teams are Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, Manchester City and Tottenham. The Super League organizers hope for three more teams to join.

While they want to only play midweek and stay in their domestic leagues, the rebels clubs were warned that won’t be possible by those competitions and UEFA.

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