(WFI) European clubs could form a breakaway league in 2018.
The suggestion was made by Juventus club president Andrea Agnelli and Galatasaray president Unal Aysal at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge on Thursday.
Speaking to delegates, Agnelli said: “Probably the best competition is a closed competition with top 20 clubs in Europe…Statistics show that would be the best you can have. It’s a closed system; you don’t have relegation or promotion. You would have the 20 best clubs in Europe always competing among themselves.”
Agnelli and Aysal are both members of the European Club Association which has a memorandum of understanding with UEFA. But that runs out in 2018, and the Turk said that the new competition could replace the agreement with European football’s governing body.
“It’s not yet totally elaborated and prepared and put on the paper,” he said.
“But it is a concept that is under discussion for a few years. It is not a new concept, but we favour it.
“Changing things brings new energy and synergy to the system. We have arrived in a stagnant situation in European football, we are not improving too much. This will open a new chapter in European football.”
Asked about what would happen to the participating clubs’ domestic fixtures, Aysal suggested that teams be made up of 40-50 players to cope with all competitions.
The issue feeds into the growing uncertainty in Europe over the possible move of the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter. UEFA president Michel Platini has backed the switch ever since he voted for Qatar to host the tournament in 2010.
But the move would upset many of the 207-members of the ECA as it would impact on their league fixtures. Aysal, who admitted the idea was not his, was adamant that the new concept would be in place before the World Cup in the gulf state.
“Every reality starts with a dream. At the moment it looks like a dream, a vision, I am sure sooner or later, in a maximum of five years-time, it will be a reality” he said.
Aysal’s comments may not be taken well by Platini who oversees the decision on which cities will host the final and semi-finals of Euro 2020, for which one of the main bidders is Istanbul.
However the ECA distanced themselves from the comments made by Aysal and Agnelli. A statement from the organisation, whose chairman is Bayern Munich’s Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, said: “Our European Super League is the UEFA Champions League! We are very happy with the current competitions and our extremely fruitful collaboration with UEFA. We will continue to work together with UEFA, and this beyond 2018.”
Buck concerns about UEFA Financial Fair Play
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck raised his concerns about UEFA’s Financial Fair Play to delegates at Leaders in Football.
Buck said the club, who were taken over by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovic in 2003, would comply fully with the regulations designed to ensure that clubs do not spend beyond their means, but that it was an overreaction.
“We had a broken finger and we cut off the arm,” he said. “We felt that football should do something from a rule-making perspective, but our approach was really financial stabilisation, in other words rules which would require clubs to pay their taxes and would not permit them to spend money they did not have.
“The problem we have identified with Financial Fair Play is that it goes a long way to preserving the status quo, and one of the great things about football in this country is that if you are in last place in League Two, you can still hope that some day you will win the Premier League. That is now difficult if not impossible due to Financial Fair Play.
“Financial Fair Play will now have to wrestle with issues like: are certain sponsorship agreements really bone fide? Insularly revenues, is it appropriate to put those into the equation?”
The American noted that he would have preferred measures that dealt with the issue of stabilisation regulations. He also admitted that it would be a while before the club break even. “Hopefully for the long-term, we will be successful in breaking even or better. We will comply with UEFA’s form of Financial Fair Play, but we have a lot of work (to do) into that” he said.
In August, UEFA announced that overall losses among the 237 clubs participating in UEFA competitions fell from €1.7 billion in 2011 to €1.1 billion last year – a 36% reduction.
Barton blasts FA
Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton blasted the English Football Association’s new commission on Thursday.
The make-up of the commission to examine English football was announced on Wednesday and includes former player and manager Glenn Hoddle.
But Barton blasted the new initiative saying “what’s the point?”
In an expletive ridden rant the 31-year-old criticised the national team ahead of crucial FIFA 2014 World Cup qualifiers and said “I don’t think we have great players. Our players are told they’re world-class, they’re great. They play with great foreign players.”
Barton did however back new chairman Greg Dyke and praised his forthright manner.