Arsene Wenger: European super league plan would destroy the Premier League

Arsene Wenger says European Super League proposal is a way of continental clubs destroying Premier League superiority; Manchester United and Liverpool reported to be in talks over the creation of the new $6billion breakaway

Eight teams from the Premier League could be competing in the Champions League and Europa League next season 0:44
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says the main reason clubs on the continent are keen to establish a new European Super League is because they cannot compete financially with their Premier League rivals.

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the main reason clubs on the continent are keen to establish a new European Super League is because they cannot compete financially with their rivals in the Premier League.

Manchester United and Liverpool are reported to be in talks over the creation of a new $6 billion breakaway tournament that would feature up to 18 clubs from Europe's top five leagues.

The founding members are aiming to get the tournament underway in 2022 and Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned as Barcelona president on Tuesday, has said La Liga club had already accepted a proposal to join.

But Wenger, FIFA's head of global development, said the plans were aimed at eroding the Premier League's "superiority".

"The Premier League has a superiority, the other leagues try to destroy the advantage that the Premier League has," Wenger said.

"For them, the best thing to do that is to create a European League, which would basically destroy the Premier League.

"So if they get the agreement from the big English clubs, it would happen."

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A Super League would see the top sides in Europe face off more regularly, but Wenger said the real beneficiaries would be the club owners.

"We're in a period of owners who are investors," Wenger added. "Their first target is to make more money. And the European Super League is one way, maybe, to make more money."

What we know about FIFA-backed plans for cross-continental super tournament

Leaked plans for a lucrative European Premier League have sent the footballing world into frenzy and left the game on the precipice of generational change.

Liverpool and Manchester United have participated in talks over the construction of a new FIFA-backed tournament, which would be funded to the sum of $6billion (£4.6billion) by Wall Street bank JP Morgan.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham have reportedly been approached as the revolutionary proposal takes shape, but what does this mean for the future of the Premier League, the Champions League, and football as we know it? Here's what we know so far…

European Premier League - key points

  • Liverpool, Man Utd in talks about joining new FIFA-backed tournament; Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham reportedly also approached
  • As many as five English clubs could sign up
  • More than a dozen teams from England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain said to be in negotiations
  • Format would comprise up to 18 teams, with home and away fixtures played during regular European season
  • Top-placed teams would play in knockout tournament
  • Provisional start date as early as 2022
  • Wall Street bank JP Morgan in talks to provide £4.6bn in funding
  • Tournament could usurp Champions League

Neville: European PL talks obscene

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.

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'

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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