What is the ECA? European Club Association role explained as teams exit Super League plans

The 12 founding members of the European Super League (ESL) – including the “big six” English clubs – have resigned from the European Club Association (ECA).

The ECA is the body that represents all UEFA professional clubs, and the only one recognized by UEFA.

He said he was “strongly opposed” to the new league and held an emergency meeting on Sunday after it was announced.

Representatives of the Super League clubs were not present. This includes Juventus president Andrea Agnelli, who was ECA president but resigned from his post.

What is the ECA?

The ECA was formed in 2008 to replace the G-14, which only included a small number of elite clubs and was not recognized by UEFA.

Its mission statement is “to create a new, more democratic governance model that truly reflects the key role of clubs”.

The association has 232 member clubs, with at least one from each of UEFA’s 54 national associations.

This gives clubs greater influence in decision-making at UEFA, with representatives of the ECA Executive Board sitting on the UEFA Executive Committee, the UEFA Club Competitions Committee, the Council. UEFA Professional Football Strategy and the UEFA Women’s Football Committee.

founding members of ESL


  • Arsenal
  • Chelsea
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester city
  • Manchester United
  • Tottenham


  • AC Milan
  • Inter Milan
  • Juventus


  • Atletico Madrid
  • Barcelona
  • real Madrid

“It is expected that three more clubs will join the squad ahead of the inaugural season,” the league said.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain have so far insisted they have not signed up.

Response to ESL

The ECA issued the following statement on Sunday: “In light of today’s reports on the subject of a so-called separatist league, the ECA, as a body representing 246 major clubs across the Europe, reiterates its stated commitment to work on the development of UEFA club competitions (UCCs) with UEFA for the cycle starting in 2024 and that a ‘closed super league model’ to which media articles refer would be strongly opposed by the ECA.

“The ECA refers to the position adopted by its board of directors at its meeting on Friday 16 April, namely that it supports a commitment to work with UEFA on a renewed structure for European club football in its whole after 2024.

“With the support of the ECA, the UEFA executive committee is invited to endorse these commitments at its meeting on 19 April, while continuing its efforts to reach an agreement on the future relationship between the ECA and the ‘UEFA.

“The ECA Board of Directors will meet in the coming days to make the appropriate decisions in light of any new developments.”

How will ESL work?

There will be 20 teams in the competition, the 15 founding members and five more, who will qualify each year based on their national achievements.

It is scheduled to start in August with two groups of 10, with home and away games played midweek.

The top three from each group would advance to the quarter-finals, with the fourth and fifth-ranked teams meeting in the playoffs for final places.

The round of 16 would be played over two sets, with the final taking place in a single match at a neutral venue, played in May.

“As soon as possible after the start of the men’s competition, a corresponding women’s league will also be launched, helping to advance and develop women’s football,” the league statement said.

Learn more about the European Super League

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