FIFA 'not aware' of European Super League agreement

Josep Maria Bartomeu claimed on Tuesday that Barcelona have accepted a proposal to join a future European Super League moments after announcing his resignation as club's president; Sky News revealed last week talks had taken place over formation of a £4.6 billion European Premier League

FIFA hope to banish "suspicion and conspiracy theories" with the website launch.
Image: FIFA says it is 'not aware' of any agreement involving a European Super League

FIFA has said it is "not aware" of any agreement involving a European Super League in the wake of comments made by outgoing Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Bartomeu resigned as Barcelona president on Tuesday evening along with the club's board of directors and in his news conference said the Spanish giants intend to join a breakaway European league.

"I can announce a piece of news that will extraordinarily change the club's revenue prospects for the coming years," said Bartomeu.

"The board of directors [on Monday] approved the acceptance of the requirements to participate in a future European Super League of football clubs, a project promoted by the big clubs in Europe."

Bartomeu 1:27
Josep Bartomeu has 'gone out with a big bang' after resigning as Barcelona president, according to Spanish football expert Semra Hunter

FIFA released a statement on Wednesday afternoon distancing themselves from the notion of a breakaway league.

"FIFA is not aware of any agreement," the statement read.

"As we already said last week, the topic of a so-called 'European Super League' comes up every now and then and FIFA has no wish to comment further on this since there are already well-established football institutional structures to deal with it.

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"Generally speaking, and as stated again last week by the FIFA president, the focus for FIFA is on global football development and the new Club World Cup, and not any European Super League."

Jordan Henderson and Anthony Martial, Liverpool vs Manchester United
Image: Liverpool and Manchester United have reportedly been in talks with Europe's leading clubs

The news follows the revelation last week that Liverpool and Manchester United have been in talks with Europe's biggest football clubs to join a new FIFA-backed tournament that would reshape the sport's global landscape.

More than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are reportedly in negotiations about becoming founder members of the competition which would be backed to the tune of £4.6 billion by a US bank.

FIFA's statement seemingly refutes suggestions that the governing body had been involved in developing the new format, which is expected to comprise up to 18 teams, and involve fixtures played during the regular European season.

Bartomeu 0:42
Spanish football expert Graham Hunter says he is very surprised outgoing Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed he intended the club to join a breakaway European league.

Any new European competition featuring English clubs must be authorised by FIFA, UEFA, the Football Association and other associations.

Article 73 of the FIFA Statutes on Authorisation states: "Clubs that are affiliated to a member association may only join another member association or take part in competitions under exceptional circumstances.

"In each case, authorisation must be given by member associations, the respective confederations and by FIFA."

UEFA vice-president Fernando Gomes is strongly opposed to the idea of a European Super League
Image: UEFA vice-president Fernando Gomes is strongly opposed to the idea of a European Super League

UEFA vice-president and Portuguese Football Federation president Fernando Gomes has also condemned the Super League proposal. In a strongly-worded statement released to the Press Association on Wednesday night, he said: "The hypothesis of the creation of any kind of European Super League deserves my complete disagreement and refusal.

"I disagree because it violates all principles of sporting merit. As far as we know, it would be a sort of self-proclaimed privileged club.

"It deserves my refusal because the world is currently experiencing its greatest challenge, at least for the last century, and the last thing it needs is the exacerbation of selfishness and greed.

"The Super League will have no possible path of support in Portugal, and in my opinion all governing bodies should refuse it in a very clear way."

Neville: European PL talks obscene

Gary Neville has called for action to tackle the lack of diversity at boardroom level 1:49
Sky Sports' Gary Neville says the timing of talks about a European Premier League during a pandemic are 'obscene' and there is a danger 'football will eat itself'

Gary Neville says the idea of a European Premier League is "another wound for football" and criticised the timing of talks during a pandemic as "obscene".

More than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain are in negotiations about becoming founder members of the competition, with financiers assembling a $6 billion (£4.6 billion) funding package to assist its creation.

Neville, who recently joined an eight-strong group calling for independent regulation of English football, has spoken passionately about the need for reform and is calling for a fairer distribution of football's wealth.

He told Sky Sports News: "The big issue that I have with it, is that at this moment in time, in the middle of a pandemic and when football is on its knees at so many different levels - the FA, EFL clubs and non-League clubs are struggling - the idea that a $6 billion package is being put together to set-up a new league when lower clubs are scrambling around to pay wages and stay in existence.

"It's another wound for football. It doesn't feel like the right time to be talking about this. The leak probably doesn't suit Manchester United or Liverpool at this moment in time as they're seen as the big, bad bullies.

"I'm for progression of football, with new competitions and new formats, but we have got to look after the fabric of the game and what it means to the communities in this country.

"There is a position, potentially, for a new European League and for an amazing Premier League, a fantastically competitive EFL and funded grassroots and non-League football. There is enough money.

"If they can pull $6 billion together for a European league then they can pull together £150-£200m to save the rest of football in this country."

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