Europe’s football ruling body UEFA is set to approve sweeping Champions League reforms on Monday and has issued a stern warning to clubs amid a latest Super League threat. Sources told dpa that clubs from England, Italy and Spain were part of the latest plan, and news reports spoke of a league comprising 20 teams which could start in 2022.
Reports named Premier League clubs Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea as part of it. Others include Italy’s Juventus and Milan clubs AC and Inter, and the Spanish trio of FC Barcelona, Real and Atletico Madrid. Fifteen or 16 of the 20 clubs in all are to be permanent members, while the remaining four or five are to qualify for the event.
According to the New York Times, the League would “generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for the participating teams, which are already the richest clubs in the sport.” 2019/2020 Champions League title-holders Bayern Munich and runners-up Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) are said not to be among the clubs who have not signed up or expressed interest. In a statement, UEFA and football leagues and federations from England, Italy and Spain spoke of “a cynical project. READ ALSO: Premier League clubs lost half a billion before COVID-19 crisis “It is a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
“As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level. Their players could also be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams. “We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this.” The Premier League said it “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid.” The FA also condemned the plans and German Football League chief Christian Seifert said his body “rejects any kind of European Super League concept”. It was said it would “irreparably damage the national leagues as the basis of European professional football.”
The latest development comes on the eve of a UEFA executive committee meeting. The meeting, apart from finalising the host cities for the summer’s Euro tournament, is also to approve a Champions League reform from 2024 onwards. The powerful European Club Association (ECA) and UEFA’s club competitions committee were reportedly in agreement Friday about the reform.
Under this, the elite event is to be increased from 32 to 36 teams and each team plays 10 instead of six group games in what is known as “the Swiss model.” Two of the additional four clubs are to be controversially picked via historic results not through qualification via domestic action. The large number of additional matches is a threat to domestic competitions and fan groups have also voiced their dissent. An even bigger outcry is expected if a Super League becomes reality.
The reports said European officials were discussing counter-measures which could include banning Super League clubs from next season’s Champions League. “We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. “Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way,” the UEFA statement said.
“We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. “This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”