LONDON: European football’s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.
In a joint statement with Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider “all measures”, including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.
UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries “may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League”.
“If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we — UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, La Liga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever,” UEFA said.
“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 statement added.
Media reports on Sunday suggested that an announcement on plans to create a Super League could be made later in the day.
Sky Sports reported that Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea were among six Premier League teams set to be part of the plans.
UEFA is planning to announce its reforms to the Champions League on Monday, with an expansion to 36 teams from 32 and two ‘wildcard’ slots expected to be among the plans.
There have been no reports that French or German clubs would be part of the Super League.
In January, FIFA had said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation” — meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.
Sunday’s UEFA statement said: “The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could 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. 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.”
The New York Times reported that at least 12 clubs have signed up for the competition, including Juventus and seven-time European champions AC Milan, who have not played in the Champions League since 2014.
The European Club Association’s board, which is led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, and the UEFA clubs’ competitions committee on Friday had signed up to expanding the Champions League with a new format from 2024.
The Premier League wrote to clubs on Sunday saying its rules prevent clubs joining competitions without its approval and urging them to distance themselves from any Super League.
Serie A on Sunday held an emergency board meeting to discuss the threat of a Super League. Juventus issued a “no comment” reply when contacted on Sunday about the Super League plans.
Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2021