UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin brands European Super League plans "disgraceful" and "a spit in the face for all football lovers"; ESL players could be banned from World Cups and Euro 2020; Manchester United executive vice-chair Ed Woodward strongly criticised
Tuesday 20 April 2021 20:22, UK
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has strongly condemned "disgraceful" proposals for a new European Super League as a "spit in the face of all football lovers".
The head of the European governing body also confirmed any players featuring in the European Super League will be banned from the World Cup and European Championships, with bans for the latter competition being sought "as soon as possible".
Ceferin, speaking at a media briefing after this morning's UEFA Executive Committee meeting, thanked Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his support in opposing the plans, which he has branded "nonsense".
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When asked if the proposals, which were announced on Sunday night by 12 of Europe's top clubs, would stop any players from competing in Euro 2020, Ceferin said: "We're still assessing the situation with our legal team. It's a bit too early.
"We will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon as we have a clear answer. My opinion is that, as soon as possible, the players have to be banned from all our competitions.
He added: "I cannot stress more strongly UEFA and the footballing world are united against the disgraceful, self-serving proposals we have seen, fuelled purely by greed.
"It's a nonsense of a project. This idea is a spit in the face for all footballer lovers and our society. We will not allow them to take this away from us."
Ceferin said he was "naive, there are snakes close to us" over the Super League proposals.
He strongly criticised Manchester United executive vice-chair Ed Woodward, who has stepped down from his roles with UEFA alongside his club's withdrawal from the European Club Association.
Ceferin said: "I was a criminal lawyer for 24 years but I've never, ever, seen people like that. If I start with Ed Woodward but he called me last Thursday, saying that he's very satisfied with reforms and he fully supports them. Obviously he already signed something else."
While both sides have entered into the European Super League, Manchester City and Tottenham have a Carabao Cup final to contest on Sunday. You too can get involved in the action - by predicting the first goalscorer, half time and full time
He revealed Monday morning's meeting decided on a new Champions League format to run from 2024, with no more groups and all teams in one ranking, playing 10 different opponents home and away.
When asked if the Champions League could proceed without the 12 clubs signed up to the European Super League plans, Ceferin said: "Yes, of course. In Europe there are many good clubs. We will do it with or without them."
The EFL, SPFL and governing bodies of German football say they will stand in solidarity with UEFA and its president Aleksandr Ceferin in response to the European Super League proposals.
In a statement, the EFL said: "A strong pyramid based on promotion, relegation and ultimately European qualification, is fundamental to our game's continued success. The EFL opposes any reform that doesn't support competition integrity or offer clubs the prospect of one day competing at the highest end of the game.
"Collective reform efforts should be focused on creating conditions that foster long-term sustainability at all levels of the domestic football and remove the current, almost impossible financial pressures created as a result in the huge difference of revenues allocated to the Premier League in comparison to the Championship and Leagues One and Two."
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, commented: "The SPFL stands alongside UEFA, the European Leagues, the English Premier League and the overwhelming majority of the game's stakeholders in vehemently opposing the proposed European Super League.
"These proposals, or any like them, would have an enormously damaging impact on the very fabric of our sport at all levels. It is no surprise they have been so swiftly and overwhelmingly condemned by fans the world over."
A joint statement from German football, Deutscher Fußball-Bund and DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga said: "It's about the future of the popular sport of football - and about setting the course that we have never seen before.
"We cannot allow the financial interests of a few top clubs from England, Spain and Italy to result in the abolition of established structures. Football in Europe also lives from the fact that it is theoretically possible for any club to compete with the best on the continent. This dream must not be replaced by an almost closed society."