UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin: "As much as I know, [Man Utd's] owners were very much involved and Liverpool as well. I think that those two were from the English side the most involved. The last to join were Chelsea and Man City. I'm not sure about Tottenham and Arsenal."
Wednesday 15 March 2023 20:13, UK
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has suggested Manchester United and Liverpool were the English clubs most involved in the controversial European Super League proposals in 2021.
Almost two years ago, 12 of Europe's top clubs signalled their intention to set up a European Super League.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan all signed up to the project before fierce opposition from governing bodies, fans and even governments helped shut down the proposals just 48 hours after the initial plans were announced.
Ceferin, speaking in an interview on The Overlap with Sky Sports' Gary Neville, reveals that Man Utd and Liverpool were "the most involved" and that he "lost it" with an official from an unnamed English club, while he also claimed Man City and Chelsea were not as committed when it came to joining the breakaway competition.
I had a phone call from one of the English clubs, I will not say which. I lost it a bit and said, 'You go to hell. From tomorrow, you are my enemies. I don't want to speak to you anymore'. It was tough.
"As much as I know, unfortunately your club's [United's] owners were very much involved and Liverpool as well," he told The Overlap.
"I think that those two were from the English side the most involved [in the Super League]. The last to join were Chelsea and Manchester City. I'm not sure about Tottenham and Arsenal.
"When I arrived in Switzerland, I got a phone call from one of the English clubs saying that we'll have to join this project. They didn't like it but didn't want to be the only ones out. Two clubs were hesitating in England very much, they said they wanted to stay friends with us, our friends from within.
"Both Chelsea and Manchester City were hesitant from the beginning, and it was one of these teams that called me."
"I had a phone call from one of the English clubs, I will not say which. I lost it a bit and said, 'You go to hell. From tomorrow, you are my enemies. I don't want to speak to you anymore'. It was tough."
Meanwhile, Ceferin also spoke about the deemed financial strength of the Premier League compared to Europe's other domestic leagues, but the UEFA president praised the English top-flight, suggesting Europe's other leagues need to catch up.
He added: "I am not worried about that.
"I think the Premier League is doing a good job and the other leagues should do a better job."
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus remain keen to push through a new-look European Super League, which could contain up to 80 teams in a multi-divisional format.
The three clubs are now locked in a legal battle with UEFA in an attempt to pave the way for a new competition in the future.
But Ceferin insists there is still not much support for any new proposals for a new competition.
"They say UEFA has a monopoly and that they have the right to organise their own competition," he said. "My answer is, organise your own competition. We never stopped them organising their own competition.
"A22 Sports wanted a meeting with me. Some of my guys were saying why should I meet with them, but I thought if I didn't meet with them, they'd say arrogant UEFA don't want to meet. However, I don't want to meet them alone because I don't trust them misusing my words.
"So, I invited ECA clubs, leagues, fans and FIFPRO to the room. They didn't know. I will just quote the chairman of the English fans who said: 'You have fewer supporters than (the) UK had Prime Ministers in the last two months.'
"Everybody was against them. Nobody wants to play with them, but they still shout that UEFA doesn't allow it. We don't have a power. If you want, you can create your own football clubs and start your competition tomorrow."
He added: "I am not sure what they want because they never tell us what they want.
"They are not attacking UEFA, but they are attacking football's system and the football pyramid. They are attacking everything that has been here for hundreds of years.
"It's their right to attack but it is our right to ignore them."