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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances. It effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top European soccer tournament.

  • Johnson tweeted that it would be "very damaging" for soccer and he supported action being taken against the clubs, warning it "would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country."

Details: The breakaway league is due to start in August and so far consists of six clubs from England, three from Spain and three from Italy, namely:

  • Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Atlético de Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
  • "It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable," per a joint statement from the clubs.

Of note: Spanish League president Javier Tebas issued a scathing Twitter comment as he shared a joint statement from European soccer's governing bodies condemning the move:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • France's President Emmanuel Macron praised French clubs for not taking part in a "football super league project threatening the principle of sporting merit."

What they're saying: "The formation of the Super League comes at a time when the global pandemic has accelerated the instability in the existing European football economic model," according to the breakaway clubs' statement.

  • "The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid.
"In recent months extensive dialogue has taken place with football stakeholders regarding the future format of European competitions. The Founding Clubs believe the solutions proposed following these talks do not solve fundamental issues, including the need to provide higher-quality matches and additional financial resources for the overall football pyramid."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer

Rochelle Walensky. Photo: Stefani Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the messaging around the COVID-19 pandemic and changing guidance should have been clearer.

State of play: Walensky is being coached by media experts and is planning to have more press briefings by herself in order to ensure that CDC is seen as an independent, scientific entity, rather than as a political one, the Journal reports.

1 hour ago - World

UAE asks U.S. to reinstate Houthi terrorist designation after attack

Secretary of State Tony Blinken (left) listens to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan during a joint news conference at the State Department iin October. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah Bin Zayed asked Secretary of State Tony Blinken in a phone call Monday to re-designate the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, a senior Emirati official told Axios.

Why it matters: Less than a month after he assumed office, President Biden rolled back the Trump administration’s decision to make the designation. He said it hampered humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people. Since then, the Houthis have escalated their attacks against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region — including an attack Monday in Abu Dhabi.