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European Leagues hit out at breakaway competition plan

The European Leagues has today (Tuesday) rallied behind Uefa by stating that renewed reports over a ‘European Super League’ would have “serious and lasting implications” for professional football in Europe.

The European Leagues is the voice of professional football leagues across Europe on all matters of common interest and has today spoken out after German magazine Der Spiegel and European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media, reported on Friday that plans for a Super League, involving leading clubs such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, had returned to the agenda.

Citing leaked documents, Der Spiegel said a new proposal had recently been drafted by Spanish company Key Capital Partners for Spanish LaLiga giant Real Madrid, which outlines 11 top European clubs forming a Super League in 2021.

In a statement today, the European Leagues said: “The Association of European Leagues has consistently voiced its strong opposition to the creation of any ‘closed and franchised style’ Super League.

“The Leagues supports the European sports model based on a pyramid structure where the mechanisms of promotion and relegation and the sporting merits of clubs are at the core of any competition.

“Domestic football is at the heart of the game throughout Europe for all football stakeholders: players, clubs, leagues, national associations and, more importantly, fans. Proposals for a closed Super League will have serious and lasting implications for the long term sustainability of professional football in Europe.”

Originally founded by 14 members – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain and Sweden – the European Leagues now counts 32 professional leagues and associations of clubs from 25 countries, representing more than 900 clubs from across the continent.

According to Der Spiegel, the 11 founding members would be locked into the Super League for 20 years, with an additional five clubs joining a 16-team competition that could potentially replace European governing body Uefa’s Champions League.

The European Leagues recently unveiled its own proposals for the format of European club competitions for the three-year cycle commencing from 2021, plans it said would grant a more equal distribution of revenue.

Its statement added: “European Leagues fully supports Uefa in the management and organisation of European club competitions and shares with Uefa the common principle of protecting and enhancing competitive balance in European football.”

The European Leagues statement comes as the BBC today reported that the UK government would oppose any Super League plan. Citing a senior government source, the BBC said UK authorities believe such a plan would harm the culture of English football. As well as United, Der Spiegel has linked Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City to the project.