Football

Uefa chief calls Super League disgraceful, threatens ban

European football's governing body Uefa yesterday said clubs and players joining a proposed breakaway Super League could be banned from all of its competitions and the World Cup, as it condemned a "disgraceful and self-serving proposal".

Addressing an emergency meeting the day after 12 of Europe's top clubs - Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan - announced the breakaway, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin upped the ante, describing the Super League plan as a "spit in the face" of all football lovers.

"My opinion is that as soon as possible, they (the clubs) have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions," he added.

The US investment bank JP Morgan is financing the new league, which is a rival to Uefa's established Champions League, Europe's elite club competition.

JP Morgan is providing a 3.5 billion-euro (S$5.6b) grant to the founding clubs to spend on infrastructure and recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The battle for control of the game in Europe and its multi-billion dollar revenues entered a new phase with a letter sent by the 12 clubs to Uefa yesterday, in which they said they would take legal steps in unnamed courts to protect their interests as they set up the league.

The breakaway has been criticised by football authorities, fan organisations, players, ex-players and several politicians across Europe, who say it entrenches the wealth and power of a small elite of clubs.

Ceferin said the Super League went against the core of the European football pyramid, in which all clubs can aspire to play in the Champions League.

"Uefa and the football world stand united against the disgraceful and self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours for a select few clubs in Europe motivated by greed. We are all united against this nonsense of a project," he added.

"As previously announced by Fifa and the six (continental) federations, the players... in teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from... the World Cup and Euros."

French president Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have also voiced concerns.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Ander Herrera tweeted: "I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet." - REUTERS

Football