SportSoccer

What could a breakaway European competition look like?

Could scenes like this move to another competition?
Could scenes like this move to another competition?

The football grapevine has been awash with talk of a potential European Super League after officials of five top Premier League club's met in London on Tuesday.

Arsenal have moved to deny that they are involved in talks to set up a new competition to rival the Champions League, yet here is a look at what could happen if the biggest clubs in the game joined forces in a new-look structure:

Q: What is the International Champions Cup series?

A: In the summer of 2013, American billionaire owner of the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise Stephen Ross helped launch a new competition for pre-season tours involving European clubs. The inaugural tournament included the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus, Chelsea, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Valencia, Everton and the Los Angeles Galaxy, but has since taken in host venues outside the United States, including Australia and China.

The 2016 series will see Tottenham join Juventus and Atletico Madrid in Melbourne, while Manchester City will be one of the sides set to play in China. Arsenal, meanwhile, have confirmed they will face two pre-season matches in the United States during July.

Q: Could the ICC Series eventually replace the Champions League and Europa League?

A: Who knows, but the organisers certainly have ambitious plans. European clubs are aware of the vast marketing potential overseas, with the interest in China continuing to expand rapidly. While the current UEFA competitions carry plenty of prestige, the lure of lucrative contracts and ever-improved external revenue makes such ventures more than an attractive proposition, and now seemingly the preferred option for pre-season.

However, implementing them during the regular campaign would need to see a dramatic shift in focus, but one which in the long-term could prove too good an offer to turn down.

Q: How much does missing out on the Champions League cost?

A: Qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League is estimated to be worth around £9million initially, with win-bonuses added, then another £4.25m for reaching the knockout stages and more into the quarter-finals onwards before the eventual winner pockets an extra £11.6m in prize money.

There is also a "market pool" for each country's television broadcast revenue. In 2014/2015, runners-up Juventus brought in a total of around £69m, while winners Barcelona were awarded £47.2m, of which £27.8m was prize money.

Q: Would it really matter if all the leading clubs broke away?

A: Maybe not to fans outside the big six - and indeed now Leicester - who could then stand a chance of winning something, but the core product of the Premier League is its competitiveness throughout all 20 member clubs, as this most unpredictable of seasons has shown.

Lose the likes of Man United, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham, then all of a sudden collective bargain for the rights to show Stoke at home to West Brom do not look so appealing.