It has been one of the most monumental days in football history as 12 of Europe's wealthiest clubs have announced their intentions to break away and form their own European Super League.
The announcement, which was made on Sunday night, confirmed that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur have all officially signed up for 'The Super League', which is set to commence as soon as possible.
It will be an exclusive European league that will be played in midweek and coexist with the Premier League, LaLiga Santander, and Serie A. These 12 teams — termed as the 'founding clubs' of the competition — will be joined by a further three clubs as 'permanent' members of the league who can never face relegation from the ESL.
Apart from these 15 clubs, five more teams will be eligible to participate in the competition and will have to qualify annually. The Super League will serve as a direct competitor to the existing UEFA Champions League structure.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez — the man believed to be the driving force behind the league — has been appointed as the president of the ESL, with Joel Glazer of Manchester United and Andrea Agnelli of Juventus as vice presidents.
Football's governing bodies UEFA and FIFA have released statements condemning the breakaway and have heavily criticised these plans, calling out the selfishness of the clubs and individuals involved.
In an official statement, UEFA described it as "a cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever," and stating that the players involved will not be allowed to represent their countries at international tournaments.
This claim was reiterated by UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, who delivered a damning verdict of the situation as he said that the ESL is 'spitting in the face of football.'
FIFA is in complete agreement with the European governing body and released a statement saying that they "can only express its disapproval to a 'closed European breakaway league' outside of the international football structures and not respecting the aforementioned principles."
Plans to create the ESL have been met with widespread criticism from all over the globe, with several football figures coming out to express their dismay. Here, we take a look at what notable figures across the world have had to say on the matter.