German businessman Bernd Reichart has been appointed CEO of the company promoting the Super League, a dissident European football competition aimed at supplanting the lucrative UEFA Champions League.
The 48-year-old former boss of the RTL media group in Germany, Reichart takes control of A22 Sports Management, the European commercial sports development company announced on Wednesday.
Reichart’s “initial focus will be to initiate an active and extended dialogue with a comprehensive group of football stakeholders including clubs, players, coaches, fans, media and policy makers,” A22 Sports Management said in a statement.
“The aim is to facilitate the development of a sustainable sporting model for European club competitions that reflects the long-term and mutual best interests of fans and the broader football community.”
Launched by 12 major European clubs, the plan to supplant the Champions League in the spring of 2021 fizzled out amid the fury of many supporters and the threat of political action.
Three of the clubs — Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus — continue to campaign for the Super League with a dispute over an alleged abuse of a dominant position by UEFA to be settled in early 2023 by the European Court of Justice.
In response, UEFA launched a major reform of the Champions League for 2024, with 36 teams instead of 32, and an eight-day mini-league instead of the traditional group stage.
“The current situation in European club football is characterised by a number of challenges which will not resolve themselves on their own,” said Reichart, a specialist in media and sports rights, who worked notably for the Spanish media group Atresmedia and CEO of German group RTL from 2019 to 2021.
“The Presidents of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and the Chairman of Juventus FC have recently outlined their views on the issues facing the sport,” he continued.
“I believe they are asking the right questions and am personally keen to listen to many diverse voices so that the European Football community can jointly find the right answers.
“The game we all love will benefit from honest and open dialogue, free of constraints, about a brighter future through serious reform.”
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