UEFA Champions League sponsor Heineken has said it is closely monitoring discussions about a breakaway European soccer ‘super league’.
On Sunday, 12 of Europe’s leading soccer clubs unveiled a plan to set up a new continental tournament organised around a schedule of mid-week games. The proposal, which has sparked calls for the 12 clubs to be ejected from their national leagues, could threaten the UEFA Champions League’s position as the leading European club soccer competition.
Heineken, which has sponsored the Champions League since 1994, told just-drinks today that “as a long-time supporter of UCL, we’re following the Super League discussions closely”.
The company added: “We hope all parties keep the fans and the sport as a whole in mind as things are resolved.”
Under the terms of Heineken’s last agreement with UEFA, its Champions League sponsorship expires at the end of this season. Heineken also sponsors the UEFA Europa League competition through its Amstel brand and is a partner of UEFA’s Euro 2020 national team tournament, which is due to be held this Summer.
Heineken is not the only beverage company that may be affected by changes in soccer’s structure at the top level. PepsiCo began sponsoring the Champions League in 2015 in support of brands including Gatorade and Pepsi Max. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to a just-drinks request for comment.
Elsewhere, Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has sponsored the English Premier League since 2019, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Six of the 12 clubs are in the English Premier League (EPL) including Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool. Yesterday, the 14 other clubs in the EPL reportedly threatened sanctions against the six amid accusations the super league would devalue the national league.