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European Soccer Embraced Big Money. Now It Faces All-Out War

The plan by 12 clubs to form their own European competition has triggered a game of brinkmanship with the football authorities.

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool FC in action during the Premier League match against Manchester United on Jan. 19, 2020.

Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool FC in action during the Premier League match against Manchester United on Jan. 19, 2020.

Photographer: Michael Regan/Getty Images

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European soccer is embroiled in an escalating multi-billion-euro battle for control of the continent’s most prestigious club competition after a dozen teams declared themselves founding members of a breakaway league.

The announcement of the 4 billion-euro ($4.8 billion) defection financed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. prompted an outcry from fans, governments and UEFA, European soccer’s governing body. In response, UEFA is now exploring a 6 billion-euro financing proposal from U.K.-based asset manager Centricus to fund a revamped Champions League, people familiar with the matter said.