BT Sport savages European Super League but Sky REFUSE to comment on controversial plans

BT Sport have strongly condemned plans for a European Super League because it will have a ‘damaging effect’ on football – but Sky have refused to comment on the bombshell proposals.

Audacious plans for a new breakaway competition including 20 teams – 15 with a guaranteed place – battling it out midweek would be in direct opposition to existing UEFA tournaments, like the Champions League.

The bombshell proposals have been met with a wave of protest from football authorities, politicians, governments and fans with UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, describing them as a ‘spit in the face’ for football and those clubs involved as ‘snakes’.

BT Sport has made a strong statement criticising plans for the European Super League

BT Sport has made a strong statement criticising plans for the European Super League

BT Sport has made a strong statement criticising plans for the European Super League

But while there is a £3.03 billion investment fund secured via JP Morgan, and a team of lawyers in place to pursue the fledgling league’s interests through the courts, no broadcaster has been publicly linked to the controversial scheme.

BT Sport have firmly ruled themselves out, DAZN initially appeared to be a partner but then distanced themselves from the project and Sportsmail understands Amazon is not, and has not been involved.

BT Sport screens UEFA competitions in the UK and Premier League matches

BT Sport screens UEFA competitions in the UK and Premier League matches

BT Sport screens UEFA competitions in the UK and Premier League matches

According to the Financial Times, the Super League’s organisers are seeking £3.4 billion per year in revenue to screen the matches and it has held early talks with Amazon, Facebook, Disney and Comcast-owned Sky, it’s claimed.

A spokesperson for Facebook said: ‘We have not been in contact with European Super League about streaming or broadcasting matches. It is not something we will be involved in.’ 

And Sportsmail understands Amazon is not involved. 

However, Sky has refused to comment in response to questions on the subject from Sportsmail and we have asked for a response from Disney 

While Sky’s corporate position remains unclear, its presenters have been unequivocal in their condemnation of the Super League and the clubs behind it. 

Former Manchester United fullback and Sky Sports pundit, Gary Neville, has blasted his beloved former club for backing the new controversial plans.

‘Forget [the American owners], they’re nothing to do with this football club – they’re just custodians,’ Neville said, in a brutal assessment of the Super League plans in the wake of United’s 3-1 win against Burnley on Sunday. 

‘The fans that come into this ground are the people who matter – we want competition. Forget them [Glazers]. They’re nothing to do with this club in terms of the actual history of the club and the long-term future, they’ll be gone.’

The figure is based on a sales pitch that offers 200 games-a-year between Europe’s top teams.

In a post on Twitter, BT said: ‘BT recognises the concerns raised by many of football’s leading voices and fans, and believes the formation of a European Super League could have a damaging effect to the long-term health of football in this country.

Sky Sports has refused to comment in response to questions about the Super League

Sky Sports has refused to comment in response to questions about the Super League

Sky Sports has refused to comment in response to questions about the Super League

‘As a sport broadcaster showing Premier League, UEFA club football and National League football as well as being lead partner for all the Home Nations football teams, we strongly believe that football makes a significant positive contribution to people’s lives at every level, and this needs to be protected.’

Yesterday, a report in Italy’s Corriere dello Sport claimed that sports streaming service DAZN, which is owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, had been working on the formation of the league.

The Italian paper claimed the streamer was willing to pay £2.5 billion for the TV rights to the European Super League, if it goes ahead.

Sky Sports presenters, like Gary Neville have been outspoken on the European Super League

Sky Sports presenters, like Gary Neville have been outspoken on the European Super League

Sky Sports presenters, like Gary Neville have been outspoken on the European Super League

However, in a statement to the website Deadline, DAZN firmly rejected the report: ‘In relation to a report by Corriere dello Sport today, this and related reports are false. Neither DAZN nor Mr. Blavatnik are in any way involved or interested in entering into discussions regarding the establishment of a Super League and no conversations have taken place.’

The prospect of a European Super League creates an opportunity but also a challenge for the broadcasters, most of whom are already engaged in screening national and European club games.

DAZN has recently secured a £2.15 billion media rights deal to become the top broadcaster for Serie A in Italy. 

Amazon screens Premier League matches, but it also has exclusive rights to UEFA Champions League games in Germany and Italy.

And Ceferin was keen to point out today that there is already a lot of value in the existing leagues and competitions, while there is no guarantee that the Super League will go ahead of be a success.

Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA,, has savaged the plotters behind the Super League

Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA,, has savaged the plotters behind the Super League

Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA,, has savaged the plotters behind the Super League

‘The broadcasters will understand I am sure that this is an uncertain project,’ he told journalists after a meeting of UEFA’s executive committee meeting. 

However, the emergence of firm plans for the Super League is a real problem for the Premier League. It was about to go to auction on the latest round of domestic media rights. 

Having secured £5.1 billion for the three-year cycle in 2015, £4.5 billion in 2018, the top flight was already facing a challenge to maintain value. The prospect of a Super League is expected to force down the price.

However, some analysts suggest the Premier League could try to postpone the auction, until the landscape is clearer. The top flight – and UEFA – still thinks there is prospect of the Super League plan floundering.

‘If I was a buyer the first thing I would look at is how will this affect the value and how much will I have to pay for the Super League, said said Francois Godard, a media analyst at Enders Analysis.

‘I do not know how the Premier League can carry on its auction. It is difficult to see how it could hold an auction right now. To me in this situation, [postponing it] will be the unavoidable outcome unless what we are seeing is brinkmanship [from the Super League clubs].

There is also the possibility that the so-called 15 ‘founder members’ of the Super League would seek to take control over at least some of the media rights themselves, in order to screen their own games.

Liverpool are among the six English teams to have agreed

Liverpool are among the six English teams to have agreed

Likewise Tottenham are keen on the idea of a breakaway league

Likewise Tottenham are keen on the idea of a breakaway league

Liverpool and Tottenham are among six English teams to have agreed to the new project

Industry insiders have speculated this could be one use of the infrastructure investment secured, which will be worth up to £310 million per club.

Negotiations over the management of the Champions League are believed to have have centred on this and other rights issues in recent weeks as Ceferin sought to secure agreement from the European Clubs Association over changes to the competition format.

Ceferin was negotiating with the then European Club Association chairman, Andrea Agnelli. Agnelli, who is also the Juventus chairman, is now the vice president of the Super League.

‘The clubs could get control, it makes sense, as much as any of it makes sense,’ said one industry source.

Andrea Agnelli has been made the vice president of the European Super League

Andrea Agnelli has been made the vice president of the European Super League

Andrea Agnelli has been made the vice president of the European Super League

Link hienalouca.com

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