03 March 2022

Plans for new-look ESL were discussed a few weeks ago, claims LaLiga president

03 March 2022

Plans for a new-look European Super League were discussed in Turin a few weeks ago, LaLiga president Javier Tebas has claimed.

The Spaniard said Juventus chief Andrea Agnelli had hosted his Real Madrid and Barcelona counterparts Florentino Perez and Joan Laporta in the Italian city recently, with a view to relaunching the hugely controversial project – this time without English clubs.

Twelve teams – including six from England – announced themselves as founder members of the breakaway league on April 18 last year but within 72 hours the league had fallen apart amid fan outrage and Government opposition.

However, Tebas insists the clubs still wedded to the Super League idea are seeking to revive it.

There was fan outrage and Government opposition following the emergence of the European Super League (Adam Davy) (PA Archive)

“As far as I know (the meeting) was at Agnelli’s house in Turin a few Fridays ago – the president of Real Madrid (Florentino Perez), (the president of Barcelona) Joan Laporta and Agnelli,” Tebas said in a briefing at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit.

“What they’re saying, especially the Real Madrid president, is that they failed a first attempt. They have seen it was difficult to get English clubs to take part.

“They are trying to design a model where English clubs are not present, there will be (representatives from) the other four (major European) leagues.

“There will be some sort of first division and a second division. As far as I know, national leagues will have access through the second division.

“Those in the first division, they have direct access because they will never get relegated. I don’t know if Agnelli will explain. And if he doesn’t explain he’s lying.”

Every time I hear communication from these (Super League) clubs I get cross, they lie more than (Vladimir) Putin to be honest

Agnelli is due to speak at the Summit later on Thursday.

Tebas added in his on-stage appearance at the Summit: “Every time I hear communication from these (Super League) clubs I get cross, they lie more than (Vladimir) Putin to be honest.

“All the domestic leagues, we must be dumb. All of us unanimously, we all say that (Super League) hurts the domestic leagues. But now these three are saying ‘no, no, no, don’t worry’. For me it’s an insult. They do huge harm.”

The value of Premier League broadcast revenue – projected to surpass £10billion in the next three years – has been viewed as a potential catalyst for the continent’s big clubs to break away in order to compete, although Champions League revenues from 2024 to 2027 could reach 15 billion euros (£12.4billion), which top European clubs would share in.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has criticised the morals of those still attempting to organise a Super League and told the clubs involved they are free to take part in the breakaway league but only if they leave UEFA competitions.

The Slovenian said at Thursday’s Summit: “I am sick and tired of speaking of this non-football project.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is tired of ESL talk (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

“First they launched this nonsense of an idea in the middle of a pandemic. Now we are reading articles every day they are planning to launch another idea in the middle of war. They obviously live in a parallel world.

“While we are saving players, together with other stakeholders, and work to help in a terrible situation, they work on a project like that.

“Honestly they can pay whoever they want to write ‘this is a nice project, full of solidarity and will give charity to small ones’, this is complete nonsense and everyone except them knows it.

“One of them even after called me and apologised and then they go again. They can play their own competition, nobody forbids them to play their own competition. But if they play their own, they cannot play our competition.”

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.

The European Super League idea “defeated itself” according to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters (Mike Egerton/PA) (PA Wire)

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters was asked whether he thought the Super League could ever make a comeback.

“No, I don’t worry about it,” he said.

“I’ve many other things to worry about. That’s not one of them. The European Super League was over and done in 48 hours in this country, thanks to the fan backlash and all sorts of people getting involved.

“I’ve never known football so united that it was during that 48-hour period. But really the idea defeated itself, it was such a poorly executed idea.”

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