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European Premier League: Talks take place over new £4.6bn tournament

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Talks have taken place over the creation of a new £4.6bn European Premier League, involving the top sides from across the continent.

Sources told the BBC that discussions are still at an early stage but the plan would involve replacing the Champions League with a new format.

Industry insiders confirmed talks involved Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

But the project is said to still have a “long way to go” and the deal “may not happen”.

Reports suggest five Premier League clubs, including champions Liverpool and Manchester United, have been approached by those behind the plan with more than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain in negotiations about becoming founder members of the competition.

It has also been reported that the European Premier League would see 18 sides compete in a single league with the top sides taking part in a play-off to determine an overall winner and that world governing body Fifa is involved.

‘Last nail in the coffin’

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters’ Association, said the idea shows that billionaire owners of clubs “are out of control”.

“The latest reports of plots, allegedly involving Manchester United and Liverpool, to create a European Super League, expose the myth that billionaire owners care about the English football pyramid, or indeed anything other than their own greed,” said Miles.

“This has to be the last nail in the coffin of the idea that football can be relied upon to regulate itself.”

La Liga president Javier Tebas said: “The authors of that idea – if they really exist, because there is nobody actually defending it – not only show a total ignorance of the organisation and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets.

“A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organisers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they´re never official. These underground projects only look good when drafted at a bar at five in the morning”