• December 10, 2023

European Super League: Uefa and Premier League condemn 12 major clubs signing up to breakaway plans

Liverpool and Chelsea are part of the group that signed up for a breakaway league

Uefa, the Premier League and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have condemned 12 major European clubs, including England’s Big Six, which have signed up for a breakaway European Super League.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham are part of the group.

Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Real Madrid from La Liga as well as AC Milan, Inter Milan and Serie A Juventus are involved.

Uefa said it would take “all possible measures” to stop the “cynical project”.

High-ranking figures from the European Football Association are angry about the proposals.

From the archive: A European Super League: The Future of Football?

None of the clubs involved have commented yet, but a statement is believed to be released later on Sunday.

Johnson said the plans were “very detrimental to football” and the UK government was helping football authorities “take action”.

He added: “The clubs involved must respond to their fans and the wider football community before taking any further action.”

BBC Sport was briefed last week on plans to confirm a European Super League.

Uefa had hoped to be able to break with the plans a redesigned Champions League with 36 teams should be confirmed on Monday.

The European governing body published a joint statement on Sunday together with the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), the La Liga and the Italian Football Association (FIGC) as well as Serie A.

They said they would “stay united” in trying to stop the runaway and take both judicial and athletic action if necessary.

They also reaffirmed Fifa’s stance that players participating in the Super League would be excluded from all other competitions at national, European or global level and could be prevented from representing their national teams.

In a separate statement, the Premier League condemned the proposal for “attacking the principles of open competition and sporting merit that are at the heart of national and European football”.

Details on how the breakaway league would work are scarce, but talks took place in October a new competition worth £ 4.6 billion that would mean replacing the Champions League.

It would likely be a members-only concept where many of Europe’s richest clubs would have guaranteed entry without the risk of relegation or the possibility of not qualifying.

The danger of the formation of a European Super League could also be a useful tool for large clubs to use for better business in their negotiations with Uefa.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said in a statement the government was “concerned that this plan could create a closed store at the top of our national game”.

He added: “We have a football pyramid where funds from the globally successful Premier League flow through the leagues to the local communities.

“I would be bitterly disappointed if I saw an action that destroys this.”

Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo (left) dribbles past AC Milan player Diogo Dalot (right).Juventus and AC Milan have joined the breakaway league plans

The Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli, the deputy chairman of the board of Manchester United, Ed Woodward, and the general manager of AC Milan, Ivan Gazidis, made a significant contribution to the discussions in the Champions League on Friday.

These clubs, however, are among those who broke their ranks to the anger of Uefa, whose president Aleksander Ceferin wanted to fend off a threat from the Super League.

The Premier League said a European Super League would “destroy” the fans’ dream that “their team could climb to the top and play against the best”.

Such a league would “undermine the appeal of the overall game” and work with the FA, English Football League, Professional Footballers Association (PFA), League Managers Association (LMA) and fans to “defend the integrity” and future prospects of the English Soccer “.

The FA said it would “not give permission for a competition that would harm English football” and “take all necessary legal and / or regulatory action” to stop it.

The Bundesliga clubs are against the plans because, following the German model, commercial investors are not allowed to hold more than 49% of the shares in clubs and the fans have the majority of their own voting rights.

It goes without saying that French Ligue 1 club Paris St-Germain is not part of the group.

Uefa thanked “the clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs that have refused to register”.

“We urge all football fans, supporters and politicians to join us in fighting against such a project if it is announced,” they added.

“This persistent self-interest of a few has lasted too long. Enough is enough.”

When the European Super League would start is unclear.

However, world government organ Fifa has already announced that it will not recognize such a competition and all players involved would be denied the opportunity to participate in a world championship.

Serie A has convened an Emergency Committee meeting to discuss the matter.

The Football Supporters’ Association said it was “totally against” the plans, which were “only motivated by cynical greed”.

They added, “This competition is being started behind our backs by billionaire club owners who ignore the traditions of the game and continue to treat football as their personal fief.”

The PFA said it had “significant concerns” about the proposal, adding that it would “undermine the strength and joy of home football and the game for the vast majority of fans across the continent”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he “applauds the position of French clubs to refuse to participate in a European Super League,” which threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit.

A statement by the French Presidency added: “The French state will support all steps of the LFP [France’s professional leagues governing body], FFF [France’s football association], Uefa and Fifa to protect the integrity of national or European federal competitions. “

It was agreed that the redesigned Champions League would include an initial phase in which each club would play 10 games instead of the current group phase.

In addition, there would be play-offs, followed by a knockout phase.

The most controversial aspect of the proposals concerns the allocation of the four additional places, with two reserved for the clubs that rank highest in the Uefa coefficient table and do not qualify for the Champions League through their national competition, but secure a kind of European Soccer.

At the moment, Liverpool and Chelsea would be the clubs that would have benefited from this system if it had been introduced this season.

“An absolute shame”

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said he was “absolutely disgusted” with the plans.

“I’ve been a Manchester United fan and have been for 40 years,” Neville, who is also a co-owner of League Two club Salford City, told Sky Sports. “It’s an absolute shame.

“To be honest, we have to wrest power in this country from the clubs at the top of this league, and that includes my club.”

The former English defender said the six English clubs involved should be docked and fined.

“It’s pure greed,” said Neville. “You are [the club’s owners] Scammers.

“They have nothing to do with football in this country. This country has a 100-year history of fans who have lived and loved these clubs.

“We are in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis [semi-professional] The National League goes broke, goes on vacation, and this crowd has Zoom calls for abandonment.

“Dock them all tomorrow. Put them at the end of the league and take the money from them. Seriously. You have to stomp on them.”


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