KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- The latest over-excited reports of plans to launch a European super league have been derided by European federation UEFA.
The clue to all of this is that discussions are being resumed on the future format – and cash distribution – of the Champions League and Europa League for the next broadcast cycle from 2024. Anything which can threaten the current financial balance is important as a context to the negotiations.
A statement from European federation UEFA, ever guarded about raids on its Champions League, said: “The UEFA president [Aleksandr Ceferin] has made it clear on many occasions that UEFA strongly opposes a Super League. The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are non-negotiable.
“It is what makes European football work and the Champions League the best sports competition in the world. UEFA and the clubs are committed to build on such strength not to destroy it to create a super league of 10, 12, even 24 clubs, which would inevitably become boring.”
Tebas weighs in
Even Spanish league president Javier Tebas was dismissive, saying: “These ‘underground’ projects only look good when drafted at a bar at five in the morning.”
Liverpool and Manchester United – having failed to railroad the other Premier League clubs to their mind with Project Big Picture – have reportedly been involved with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in talks over the creation of a new competition, which it is claimed has the backing of governing body FIFA.
Wall Street bank JP Morgan is reported to be in talks over debt financing for the competition, to be repaid from future broadcast revenues.
The Project Big Picture proposals were rejected at a Premier League clubs meeting last week, and described as “a distraction at best” by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden from the pressing need for the Premier League and EFL to agree a financial rescue package amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Ceferin said in December last year that reports of a world league were “far-fetched” and “insane”. FIFA had been planning to launch an expanded 24-team Club World Cup but that has been put on ice because of the Covid-enforced calendar shuffle and a continuing pursuit of appropriate financial underwriters.
The world federation, in a statement, said: “FIFA does not wish to comment and participate in any speculation about topics which come up every now and then and, for which, institutional structures and regulatory frameworks are well in place at national, European and global level.”