US banking giant JP Morgan and top-flight English clubs are said to be in talks over a game-changing $6bn (£4.6bn) plot to launch a new Fifa-backed European football league.
Liverpool and Manchester United are among more than a dozen European teams in negotiations about becoming founding members of the new competition, which could be known as the European Premier League, Sky News reported.
Financiers are now assembling a $6bn funding package to assist the launch of the venture, which, if successful, could be one of the sport’s most lucrative competitions.
Wall Street titan JP Morgan is said to be in talks to provide the debt financing, which would be repaid from future broadcast revenue generated by the competition. Other banks are also expected to join financing of the project.
As many as five English clubs could sign up to the league, while teams from France, Germany, Italy and Spain are said to be involved. The would-be competition has floated a provisional start date as early as 2022.
Sources said Fifa, the international governing board for football, had been involved in developing the new league, which would consist of up to 18 teams and hold fixtures during the normal European season.
The tournament would then conclude with a knockout round between the highest-placed clubs in the league, with the winners set to pocket hundreds of millions of pounds in prize money.
One football industry insider told Sky News the plans could be unveiled as soon as the end of this month, though a number of key details, including participating clubs, remain unclear.
Big Six approach
The other members of the Premier League’s so-called Big Six – Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – have also been approached about the league.
The plans will send fresh shockwaves through the footballing world, which has been rocked in recent weeks by a failed attempt to shake up the structure of the Premier League.
Project Big Picture, which would have reduced the size of the league and handed additional powers to top clubs, was branded “Project Power Grab” by ministers and rejected by teams last week.
While English football has been in turmoil over recent weeks, this is not the first time the idea of a European super league has been floated.
But a Fifa-backed venture would likely need the approval of European governing body Uefa, which runs the Champions’ League.
Real Madrid is said to have been a key architect of the potential new competition, while Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have also been invited to take part, according to local media reports.
Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich are also likely to have been approached.
JP Morgan declined to comment.