29 March 2022

No chance of Super League being revived, says European Club Association boss

29 March 2022

There is no potential for the European Super League to be resurrected, according to European Club Association chairman Nasser Al Khelaifi.

The breakaway competition collapsed within 72 hours of its official inception last April amid fan outrage and opposition from the football authorities, but its backers at Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus remain convinced the project is not a failure and that the European game is in desperate need of reform.

Al Khelaifi, the president of Paris St Germain who rejected invitations to join the league last year, says the prospect of revenues for clubs up by 40 per cent in the next Champions League cycle from 2024 prove the plotters were “wrong on every single angle”.

The European Super League plans were met with a wave of protests (Zac Goodwin/PA). (PA Archive)

He said at the ECA General Assembly in Vienna on Tuesday: “Regarding the non-Super League, it doesn’t exist. Not the first (version), not the second.

“Everybody is against it – from the fans, the media, clubs, small and big clubs. They are three (clubs) only.”

The ECA and European football’s governing body UEFA have set up a joint venture to sell the commercial rights to club competitions from 2024, which Al Khelaifi has previously described as a “tectonic shift” in the dynamic between clubs and the confederation, giving clubs greater control over their destiny.

Revenue from Europe’s club competitions in 2024-27 is understood to be projected at five billion US dollars (£3.8bn) per season, up from 3.6bn US dollars (£2.7bn) per season in the current cycle.

Al Khelaifi added: “The strange thing is, they (Barcelona, Real and Juventus) enjoy playing now in UEFA competition. They’re enjoying playing in the best competition.

I don’t think there’s a way that they potentially can do something like this (resurrect the Super League) because we are here united

“I don’t think there’s a way that they potentially can do something like this (resurrect the Super League) because we are here united.

“Here at the ECA, we found our unity in 2021 – how we’ll be together, working as one family and looking after each other. I think that’s the main goal and we’ve done it.

“Now we’re looking at the potential and what we can in 2022, one of these is the increased value of UEFA competition, proving at every single angle that they’re wrong and that we’re going to grow bigger and bigger.”

LaLiga president Javier Tebas claimed at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit earlier this month that the presidents of Barca, Real and Juve had met in Turin to discuss a new-look Super League.

He said they were trying to design a model that did not include English clubs.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas believes the architects of last year’s Super League are working on new plans (Handout/PA) (PA Media)

At the same conference, Juve president and former ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli refused to confirm if talks were under way over a new league but added: “Last year was the first time not one, not two, not three, but 12 clubs made a statement, which was a profound shout of alarm to the system, that we have to do something to create a sustainable industry.”

The Super League trio are challenging UEFA in the European Court of Justice.

They claim UEFA’s decision to block the Super League and to sanction the clubs involved was abuse of a dominant position and a breach of European competition law.

Agnelli said: “I place a lot of trust in the judges of the European Court of Justice, who are the true keepers of the European Union and European values.

“Any promoter should be allowed, in a free environment, to promote a product and then if people are qualified, invited, they can freely decide (to join) without being told no by a monopolistic operator, and the only gatekeeper for the industry.”

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