European football’s governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a separatist Super League that they risk being banned from domestic and international competitions if they establish a rival for the Champions League.
In a joint statement Sunday with the Spanish, English and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it would consider “all measures”, including the courts, in opposition to plans for separatist competition.
“Affected clubs will be banned from participating in any other competition at national, European or world level, and their players may be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams,” UEFA said.
UEFA is due to approve its own plans for an enlarged and restructured Champions League on Monday, but less than 24 hours before meeting reports emerge of a new attempt to create a rival competition involving the top clubs in the world. continent.
Media reports on Sunday suggested that an announcement on plans to create a Super League could be made later today.
Sky Sports have reported that Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are among six English Premier League teams that are expected to be part of the plans.
“If that were to happen, we would like to reaffirm that we… (and) also FIFA and all of our member associations – will stand united in our efforts to end this cynical project, one based on the self-interest of the few. clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever, ”said UEFA.
“We will look at all the measures at our disposal, at all levels, both judicial and athletic, to prevent this from happening. Football is based on open competition and sporting merit; it cannot be otherwise, ”the statement added.
In January, world football’s governing body FIFA said that a separatist league would not be recognized and that “any club or player involved in such a competition would therefore not be allowed to participate in a competition organized by FIFA or their respective confederation” – meaning that players would be banned from the World Cup.
In a statement released by the Elysee Palace on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he supported the governing body of European football in its decision to oppose the league.
“The President of the Republic welcomes the position of French clubs to refuse to participate in a European football Super League project which threatens the principle of solidarity and sporting merit,” the statement said.
“The French state will support all measures taken by the LFP, FFF, UEFA and FIFA to protect the integrity of federal competitions, whether national or European,” Macron added, citing national governing bodies. , European and world football.
‘Driven by greed’
The New York Times reported that at least 12 clubs have entered the competition, including Italian clubs Juventus and seven-time European champion AC Milan, who have not played in the Champions League. since 2014.
“It is by design illegitimate, irresponsible and anti-competitive,” said Fans Europe, a network of football supporters.
“More precisely, it is exclusively motivated by greed. The only ones to win are hedge funds, oligarchs and a handful of already wealthy clubs, many of which perform poorly in their own domestic leagues despite their inherent advantage.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are said to be two of the Spanish teams to join.
Former Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu, when he resigned his post last October, said he had accepted a proposal for the Catalan giants to play in the Super League.
Notably, the two Champions League finalists from last season, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain, are among the big European teams not involved.
“The economic interests of a few big clubs in England, Italy and Spain must not lead to the abolition of the structures established in all of European football,” said the boss of the German Football League, Christian Seifert.
“In particular, it would be irresponsible to cause irreparable damage to the national leagues, as the basis of European professional football, in this way.”
The Super League move comes as a surprise after the Association of European Clubs (ECA), which represents 246 of the continent’s top clubs, gave its backing to the UEFA reforms that are on the agenda of the Monday executive committee meeting.
UEFA have proposed an increase to 36 from 32 teams and an overhaul of the group stage into a single table rather than the current groups of four clubs.
The teams would play 10 matches each in the group stage rather than the six they currently play and a play-off round would also be introduced before the last 16.
But although there has been a broad consensus and these reforms, the ECA has been slow to make changes in governance and competition control.