19 Apr Breakaway Super League a ‘spit in the face of football lovers’, UEFA chief says | UK News
Plans for a breakaway European Super League are a “spit in the face of all football lovers”, the president of UEFA has said.
Aleksandr Ceferin told a news conference: “I cannot stress more strongly, UEFA and the football world are united against this disgraceful, self serving from a select few clubs in Europe, fuelled by greed and nothing else.
“It is not just football, societies and governments across Europe are united, we are all united against this nonsense of a project.
“We have English FA, Spanish and Italian federations, FIFA, all 55 member associations unanimous in opposition against these cynical plans.
“Our sport has become greatest based on sporting merit and we cannot allow that to change, we will not ever.”
Twelve of the leading clubs in Europe, including six from the top flight of English football, last night announced their intention to form a new breakaway league.
A statement from the new competition said: “AC Milan, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur have all joined as founding clubs.
“It is anticipated that a further three clubs will join ahead of the inaugural season, which is intended to commence as soon as practicable.”
There has been widespread criticism of the plans from fans, former players, managers and governing bodies, who have warned it will “devalue” existing club leagues and competitions and have a devastating impact on grassroots football.
And Boris Johnson says the government will do everything it can to make sure the new European Super League “doesn’t go ahead in the way that it’s currently being proposed”, calling the plans “very damaging for football”.
The prime minister said he would work with football authorities opposed to the move, adding: “I don’t think that it’s good news for fans, I don’t think it’s good news for football in this country.”
He said: “These clubs are not just great global brands – of course they’re great global brands – they’re also clubs that have originated historically from their towns, from their cities, from their local communities, they should have a link with those fans, and with the fan base in their community.”
Mr Johnson said the six Premier League clubs involved “must answer to their fans” before deciding to launch the breakaway competition.
The project is being launched to rival UEFA’s Champions League format which currently dominates European football – and the announcement came a day before UEFA was due to sign off on plans for an expanded and restructured tournament.
The Super League has also been criticised by Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer, who said the plans had ignored the fans – and urged a rethink.