As it happened: European Super League threatens to shake up 'beautiful game'

From Matias Grez, Rob Picheta, Ben Church and John Sinnott, CNN

Updated 5:22 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
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1:00 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021

The end of a seismic day for European football

From CNN's Matias Grez

A picture shows Spanish football club Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 19, 2021. 
A picture shows Spanish football club Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on April 19, 2021.  Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Sunday's announcement that 12 'founding member' teams would be breaking away from current UEFA competitions shook European football to its core.

The move was met with widespread condemnation from fans, politicians and leading figures in football.

Here is a list of everything you need to know about an explosive 24 hours that may have changed the sport forever.

1:06 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Who controls the 12 European Super League members

From John Sinnott

Here's a handy guide to who is in charge of the 12 clubs looking to shake up European football.

12:32 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Bayern Munich CEO says his club weren't involved in Super League plans and backs current system

From CNN's Rob Picheta

Bayern Munich's CEO has criticized the European Super League, insisting that the continent's top teams should stay within the current structure and seemingly dealing a blow to the breakaway tournament's hopes of recruiting the German giant.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said in a statement that his club "has not been involved in the plans for creating a Super League" and is instead "convinced that the current structure in football guarantees a reliable foundation."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of FC Bayern München, in October 2020.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, CEO of FC Bayern München, in October 2020. Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

The team, along with Paris Saint-Germain, are European football's most notable holdouts from the competition.

Rummenigge said he supports UEFA's plans to expand the Champions League rather than form a new tournament

"Bayern welcomes the reforms of the Champions League because we believe they are the right step to take for the development of European football. The modified group stage will contribute to an increase in excitement and the emotional experience in the competition," he said.

And he added that the Super League was not the answer to the financial problems facing clubs. "I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Rather, all clubs in Europe should work in solidarity to ensure that the cost structure, especially players’ salaries and agents’ fees, are brought in line with revenues, to make all of European football more rational," Rummenigge said.

12:03 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021

What is the new European Super League and how will it work?

A combination of logos of the European football clubs involved in the European Super League.
A combination of logos of the European football clubs involved in the European Super League. AFP/Getty Images

Football fans, politicians and governing bodies are united in fury after 12 of the sport's biggest teams announced plans to breakaway from European football competitions and form their own "Super League" -- a move that poses an existential threat to the world's favorite sport.

CNN's Steven Poole explains everything you need to know about the plans -- and why they matter -- here.

11:40 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Shock and outrage as world reacts to European Super League breakaway plans

The news of plans for 12 of Europe's top football teams to break away and form a European Super League has shocked and outraged the footballing and wider world.

While fan groups for the clubs themselves expressed their opposition to the plans and threatened to forego their support of their club -- The Arsenal Supporters' Trust called the club's agreement to join "the death of Arsenal as a sporting institution" -- clubs outside the 12 had their say.

22-time Russian Premier League winners Spartak Moscow offered to welcome fans of the proposed European Super League members if they choose to jump ship.

"Dear AC Milan, Arsenal, Atlético, Chelsea, Barcelona, Internazionale, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham fans," it wrote on Twitter.

"If you need a new club to support, we're always here for you."

Read more from CNN's Ben Morse on the global outrage here.

11:20 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Premier League to discuss Super League proposal on Tuesday; ‘Big Six’ clubs not invited

From CNN's Aleks Klosok

The English Premier League will hold a virtual meeting with 14 of its 20 clubs on Tuesday to discuss the proposed European Super League.

The EPL’s so-called ‘Big Six’ clubs who are part of the proposal -- Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur -- have not been invited to attend.

The meeting, which will be chaired by Premier League CEO Richard Masters, will discuss both the current situation at play and proposed next steps.

11:08 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Amid a wave of criticism, an agent reveals he supports Super League

From CNN's John Sinnott and Rob Picheta

There haven’t been many advocates for the European Super League, but Anglo-Italian agent Michael Di Stefano, who has worked in football for more than 20 years, advising players and clubs, told CNN Sport that the proposal was worthy of more consideration.

Di Stefano said that “maybe now is the time for those clubs to try a different format," criticizing UEFA for being "unwilling to embrace" changes to the Champions League or to offer a larger share of revenue to big teams.

“The European tournament models have become, or maybe have always been, quite predictable," he said. "The last time a football team from outside of that 'Big 12' won (the Champions League) was Porto in 2003/2004, or going back further, Borussia Dortmund in 1996 or Ajax in 1994."

He argued clubs should be allowed to find new revenue streams.

“Football clubs don’t really make money and many of them, if not most of them, run off a model of deferring debt until the next big paycheck comes in -- and that seems to be OK with everyone, but it shouldn’t be.

“This step was always inevitable and if it doesn’t happen this time and just ends up being a negotiating tactic, fair play to the clubs for strong-arming UEFA," he said.

"But if it does happen, this will be another Premier League moment, another time where the game evolved quicker than what most people had expected," he added, referring to the introduction of England's top tier of football in 1992.

"Kicking this idea into the long grass makes everybody feel comfortable but I’ve been long looking forward to it."

But Di Stefano did raise concerns about the relegation-free nature of the proposed league, which would be unique to European football.

“There are going to be inherent problems with this: the carbon copying of the MLS League structure won’t win too much favour on this continent, (and) relegation is required in European football," he said.

“Fear of failure is required in European football but with some good compromise and tweaking, I don’t see why it can’t be as exciting or if not, more exciting than the current UEFA run tournaments.

“I know this argument is not going to make me many friends," admitted Di Stefano. "But I’m not gonna lie, I’m excited by it and how it will evolve on our great continent."

“And in closing, if I might be so bold: the fans should take a long hard look at the governing body and ask them: how did you let this happen," he said.

10:53 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

UEFA says players who take part in breakaway league will be banned from World Cup and Euros

From CNN's Aleks Klosok

UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin reiterated on Monday that any players involved in the proposed breakaway Super League will be banned from the World Cup and European Championships. 

The Slovenian pulled no punches in an extraordinary media briefing, which came after 12 of European football’s biggest clubs announced on Sunday their intention to form a breakaway competition.

UEFA and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful, self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours from a select few clubs in Europe that are fuelled purely by greed.
As previously announced by FIFA and the six (continental) federations, the players who will play in teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros, so they will not be able to represent their national teams at any matches."
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin gave an extraordinary press briefing on Monday.
UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin gave an extraordinary press briefing on Monday. Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

The 53-year-old thanked European leaders, including UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron, who have voiced their disapproval of the planned League.

“Super League is only about money, money of the dozen, I don’t want to call them dirty dozen – but UEFA is about developing football, and about financing what should be financed, that our football, our culture, survives – and some people don’t understand it. 

“Solidarity is something that stays forever. For some people, solidarity doesn’t exist. Unity doesn’t exist. The only thing that exists is their pockets. Ultimately, we believe that these changes and the support structure we are implementing can protect what our sport is all about,” Čeferin added.

UEFA on Monday voted to approve new plans for an expanded and restructured Champions League to kick-in from the 2024-25 season.

The total number of teams participating will increase from 32 to 36 with the traditional group stage being remodelled into to a single league stage.

10:55 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021

Football is in a "civil war" -- but fans can stop the Super League, says Tottenham Supporters' Trust

From CNN's Rob Picheta

The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Football fans can stop the European Super League despite the beginning of a "civil war" within the sport, a board member of the Tottenham Hotspur supporters' Trust has told CNN.

Tottenham were one of six English sides to announce they would take part in the new tournament, which has enraged fans and governing bodies of the sport.

Martin Buhagiar told CNN's Becky Anderson that the club's fans "feel betrayed" by the plan, hatched "without any consultation whatsoever with supporters -- probably because they knew this would be the reaction."

"We have seen these owners as custodians, but now we see them as imposters. Football is in a state of civil war today. Let’s make no mistake about that. We need to fight together," he said.

He urged fellow fans to put aside rivalries and work to stop the plans. "We feel that together football fans can stop this ... We will be speaking to other supporters groups. This is a time for rivals to come together and fight together."

"It’s all about pure greed," he said of the plans.

Tottenham joined Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and nearby rivals Arsenal in forming the competition.

Earlier on Monday, Tottenham parted ways with their manager Jose Mourinho after a disappointing run of form.