Uefa, LaLiga and Bundesliga give short shrift to European Premier League
Uefa has dismissed a proposal for a breakaway European Premier League, claiming that there is no appetite for a closed competition involving the continent’s elite soccer clubs.
On Tuesday, it emerged that banking giant JP Morgan was in talks with other investors about raising $6 billion to support an annual competition involving 18 top teams, with no promotion and relegation, and reportedly backed by Fifa.
However, there have been no pledges of support from the clubs apparently approached, and Fifa has distanced itself from the project, at least for now.
The concept of a European Super League has raised its head on numerous occasions, often as a tool in commercial negotiations related to the Uefa Champions League, but Aleksander Ceferin (pictured), the head of European soccer’s governing body, has repeatedly played down the prospect.
Florentino Perez, the president of Spanish powerhouses Real Madrid, and investment company Key Capital Partners, are reported to be involved in the new proposal, but the country’s LaLiga is among the organisations seriously questioning the concept.
In a statement yesterday evening, Uefa said: “The Uefa president has made it clear on many occasions that Uefa strongly opposes a Super League. The principles of solidarity, of promotion, relegation and open leagues are non-negotiable.
“It is what makes European football work and the Champions League the best sports competition in the world.
"Uefa and the clubs are committed to build on such strength not to destroy it to create a super league of 10, 12, even 24 clubs, which would inevitably become boring.”
News of the proposed new competition emerged as the group stage of the 2019-20 Champions League kicked off, and a provisional start date of as early as 2022 is said to have been discussed.
However, that would appear to be at least two years too early as the next Uefa club competition commercial rights cycle runs from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
Javier Tebas, the often outspoken president of LaLiga, said: "The authors of that idea - if they really exist, because there is nobody actually defending it - not only show a total ignorance of the organisation and customs of European and world football, but also a serious ignorance of the audiovisual rights markets.
"A project of this type will mean serious economic damage to the organizers themselves and to those entities that finance it, if they exist, because they´re never official. These ‘underground’ projects only look good when drafted at a bar at 5 in the morning."
The DFL, the German football league, which oversees the Bundesliga, has also strongly condemned the proposal, with its chief executive Christian Seifert saying today: "This kind of Super League stands for everything that European professional football shouldn’t stand for in the future, and would shake European football to its foundations.
At present, the top nations of England, Spain, Germany and Italy all have four guaranteed places in the main competition, with clubs qualifying via their domestic league positions.
In terms of club soccer, the focus of Fifa, and its president Gianni Infantino, has been on a revamped and expanded Club World Cup part-financed by outside investors, although the first edition, which was due to take place in China next June and July, has been postponed in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on the European Premier League, the federation said: “Fifa does not wish to comment and participate in any speculation about topics which come up every now and then and, for which, institutional structures and regulatory frameworks are well in place at national, European and global level.”