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Top clubs reject Super League plan
Uefa and its leading clubs seek to end rumours of a breakaway league.
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2009 20:47 GMT

AC Milan's Kaka would always be a drawcard [AFP]
Uefa and Europe's top clubs moved to quash speculation that a continent wide Super League is back on football's agenda.

The categorical denials came in response to a series of media reports in France, Italy and Spain that plans for the elite league, an issue which threatened to tear European football apart in recent years, were being revived.

One proposal had the league being formed in three divisions of 20 or 22 teams, who would likely field weakened lineups in their domestic championships, which would be reduced in size.

"For us the Super League is a nonstarter,'' Uefa spokesman William Gaillard said.
"Such an idea is against our president's philosophy.''

Breakaway

Uefa's successful and lucrative Champions League competition was vulnerable to past proposals for a breakaway league organised by Europe's most powerful clubs.

"This is a nightmare that somebody had overnight,'' AC Milan director Umberto Gandini said when asked about the speculation.

Talk of a Super League was resurrected last month after Gandini was reported in an interview to have called a European league “inevitable.''

Gandini said Tuesday his remarks were taken out of context and had simply compared the speed of football's integration to political unity across the 27-nation European Union.

The Milan executive was one of 13 board members of the European Club Association, a forum representing 137 of Europe's best and wealthiest clubs, who met in Amsterdam and quickly distanced themselves from the Super League concept.

"We have never had any intention of implementing such a competition,'' the ECA said in a statement.

"We have never discussed it and it has never been on our agenda.''

Barcelona's Lionel Messi stars in domestic and European competitions [AFP]
Sensitive

The ECA is sensitive to the speculation because it was created on a condition that clubs would stop angling for a breakaway league, the policy which defined the now-disbanded G14 lobby group of elite clubs.

Uefa and football's world governing body Fifa agreed to a peace deal to recognise the ECA in January 2008 on the understanding that the G14 and its confrontational style was disbanded.

Since then, Uefa president Michel Platini and ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge have talked of their warm and cooperative working relationship.

Platini told France Football magazine in its edition Tuesday that he would listen to clubs if they proposed a European league.

However, Platini repeated his support for the current competition structure, stating that "my vision of things is in line with the sense of the current Champions League.''

Gaillard said any proposal for a Super League would have to come through Uefa's strategy council.

The panel meets three or four times a year and includes representatives of Europe's leagues, players' unions and the ECA, including Milan's Gandini.

"That is the proper place for this to be discussed,'' Gaillard said. "We are in a constant dialogue with the clubs and nobody has brought up this issue to us.''

Source:
Agencies
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