Senior figures in European football have condemned plans by 12 of Europe”s biggest clubs to create a breakaway, closed ‘Super League’.
In a joint statement the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said it would remain united in efforts to stop what it termed a “cynical project”.
The idea, it said, was “founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
“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 was jointly issued by UEFA, English Football Association, the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and the Italian Lega Serie A.
It also reiterated a past assertion that clubs involved in setting up a so-called ‘Super League’ would be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level.
Among the European clubs understood to be involved in the plans are Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus.
Six top English teams, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham, were also widely reported to have backed the plans. French side Paris St-Germain is not thought to be part of the group.
The European Club Association, which represents the interests of professional association football clubs in UEFA, also said on Sunday it would “strongly oppose” any such plans.
How would the European Super League work?
The ‘Super League’, a proposed 20-team annual competition, would see 15 top European clubs become permanent members, based on plans revealed earlier this year.
The remaining five teams would vary each season, although the qualification method has not been determined.
Each of the 15 founding members would get a share of at least €3.5bn in initial infrastructure grants. The money would be split among four tiers of clubs, with the top six each getting €350m.
But getting the European Super League off the ground may not be easy. Football’s world governing body FIFA has already said it wouldn’t recognise the new group, and has added that any players involved in it could be denied the chance to play at a World Cup.