A22 Sports Management, the company that was set up to assist with the launch of soccer’s aborted European Super League (ESL) project in April 2021, has appointed Bernd Reichart as its chief executive.

Reichart, 48, served as the chief executive of the RTL Deutschland German media firm between January 2019 and the end of 2021 and has now been brought on board by A22 in what looks likely to be the first stage of resurrecting the ESL. A22 was launched last year as a commercial sports development firm.

A22 is a co-claimant to legal proceedings brought against the ESL founder clubs – Spain’s Real Madrid and Barcelona and Italy’s Juventus – by European soccer’s governing body UEFA.

The sports development company has argued that UEFA’s monopoly on top-tier soccer in Europe breaches competition law.

UEFA, on the other hand, has called the ESL a “textbook example of a cartel.”

A ruling on what punishment UEFA can hand out to the aforementioned trio is still outstanding from the European Court of Justice.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Reichart said following his appointment by A22: “The presidents of Real Madrid and Barcelona and the chairman of Juventus have recently outlined their views on the issues facing the sport.

“I believe they are asking the right questions and am personally keen to listen to many diverse voices so that the European soccer community can jointly find the right answers.

“The game will benefit from honest and open dialogue, free of constraints, about a brighter future through serious reform.”

A22 has said that 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 policymakers.

“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 soccer community.”

The ESL rose and fell within the space of a few days in April last year as the concept was widely rejected by almost all of European soccer’s range of stakeholders.

Nine of the original 12 clubs which grouped together to form the closed-shop league cut ties within a week of the launch, leaving the three aforementioned teams as the only remaining proponents.

Those nine are Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool from England; Atletico Madrid from Spain; and Inter Milan and AC Milan from Italy.

The original ESL would have involved the 12 teams playing in a closed-shop competition against each other every season, on top of their existing domestic leagues. In order to achieve this, they would have left the UEFA Champions League, currently European club soccer’s pinnacle.

US investment bank JP Morgan was said to be among the leading financiers prepared to invest $6 billion in the competition.

Reichart joined RTL in 2013, and between January 2019 and June 2022 served as a member of the management committee at Bertelsmann, the conglomerate which owns RTL.

Image: Boris Breuer