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SBD Global/October 14, 2013/International Football

New European Super League Under Discussion, ECA Backs Champions League Setup

Turkish side Galatasary President Unal Aysal said that plans for a European superleague comprising the continent's top 20 clubs which would replace the Champions League within five years "are being actively discussed," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Aysal's comments were confirmed by Juventus President Andrea Agnelli, who told delegates that an academic discussion about the future of European club football "had started among top clubs." While Agnelli "was more considered in his responses," saying that the current format needed to be looked at and that the Europa League especially required revitalization, Aysal "was far more expansive." European Clubs Association Chair Karl-Heinz Rummenigge "dismissed the claims and said no such plan was on the agenda." The ECA has a five-year agreement with UEFA ensuring the future of the Champions League. Aysal, though, "did not mince his words when he spoke to reporters after appearing before delegates at the Conference." Aysal: "Changing things brings new energy and synergy to the system" (REUTERS, 10/10).

ECA RESPONDS: The AFP reported Aysal suggested that the clubs "would be prepared to turn their backs on European governing body UEFA if the organisation opposed their scheme." Aysal: "In the end, the clubs will always be right because the clubs are the actors and the actors have to decide their fate and their future and their destiny" (AFP, 10/10). SKY SPORTS' Graeme Bailey reported the ECA "has insisted it is backing the current UEFA Champions League format." The ECA issued a quick response to Aysal's comments, insisting that "they are more than happy with the current Champions League set-up." A statement read, "The European Club Association (ECA) has taken note of comments made today regarding the alleged creation of a European Super League in 2018. ECA underlines that such an idea was never discussed within the association and never figured on any meeting agenda. ECA is very happy with the current European club competitions" (SKY SPORTS, 10/11).
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