Investors with connections to Madrid and Barça promoting the Superliga

MADRID (AP) – A management company whose co-owner has ties to Real Madrid and Barcelona is tasked with promoting the relaunch of the failed Super League venture.

Madrid-based A22 Sports Management is part of a partnership between investors John Hahn and Anas Laghrari, who has worked with the two Spanish clubs on other recent projects.

The French-Moroccan Laghrari was involved through the financial company Key Capital Partners with the Madrid stadium management agreement for the renovated Santiago Bernabéu, and also participated in some recent negotiations to help Barcelona with financial difficulties.

They also participated in projects with clubs other than Barcelona and Madrid.

Hahn worked for two decades at a London-based US private equity firm before leaving to join the Super League project.

A22 last week hired a former German television chief as its chief executive, and the company is pledging a wide-ranging dialogue with football stakeholders to promote an open Superleague based on sporting merits, bucking the original plan that quickly failed last year.

The new impetus comes after the initial draft collapsed within 48 hours, amid strong backlash from UEFA, fans and lawmakers, who said the original Superliga’s elitist format would hurt smaller clubs.

New CEO Bernd Reichart took over at A22 with responsibility for initiating “an active and protracted dialogue with a comprehensive group of football stakeholders, including clubs, players, coaches, fans, media and policymakers,” according to A22. .

A22 calls itself a “sports development company” that is currently “actively working with a number of leading football clubs to develop new concepts and ideas for European club competitions”.

He said his aim is “to achieve the full potential of pan-European club football while at the same time addressing the many important issues facing the sport”.

“The current situation in European club football is characterized by challenges, which will not resolve themselves,” said Reichart, who worked on commercial rights in the sports industry with the Sportfive agency and was CEO of German commercial broadcaster RTL from 2019 to 2019. 2021 .

A22 is a different entity from the Super League company originally created by several founding clubs, including Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, who have not yet abandoned the project.

The three clubs and A22 are awaiting a ruling from the European Court of Justice in their challenge to the alleged monopoly control that UEFA, organizer of the Champions League, is said to have over international competitions.

The European court in Luxembourg has set a December 15 target to give a non-binding opinion on the Super League case which was heard by 15 judges over two days in July. The full decision should come out next year.

Regardless of the outcome, A22 acknowledged that the initial plan for the Super League needed to change and that the revamped project will likely involve more clubs from more countries in a multi-tier competition with promotion and relegation.

The A22 contacted UEFA, which it said was “always open to constructive dialogue and will therefore consider requesting a meeting in due course”.

A22 said its funding comes directly from Hahn and Laghrari. He did not provide a timeline for specific next steps in promoting the Super League, although Reichart said a new league without permanent members could be in place by the 2024-25 season.

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