By PA and Reuters
European soccer's governing body UEFA has warned clubs linked to a breakaway Super League that they face being banned from domestic and international competitions if they set up a rival to the Champions League.
In a joint statement with English, Spanish and Italian leagues and federations, UEFA said it will consider "all measures", including the courts and bans from domestic leagues, in opposition to plans for a breakaway competition.
UEFA said it had learnt that clubs from those countries "may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League."
We will consider all measures available to us... in order to prevent this happening
"If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we... (and) also FIFA and all our member associations — will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever," UEFA said.
"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way," the statement added.
UEFA, the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have today released a statement.
Read it in full here: 👇
— UEFA (@UEFA) April 18, 2021
In January, FIFA said that a breakaway league would not be recognised and that "any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation" — meaning players would be banned from the World Cup.
Sunday's UEFA statement said: "The clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.
"We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough."
Premier League condemns
In a separate statement on Sunday, the Premier League said it “condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit” following reports that six of its clubs were supporting a European Super League.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester City have signed up to the breakaway plan, according to reports.
“The Premier League condemns any proposal that attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart of the domestic and European football pyramid,” the league said in a statement.
Don’t panic....alright then, let’s panic. https://t.co/9Q1mkyXnQq
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) April 18, 2021
The developments occurred on the eve of a new-look 36-team Champions League being discussed by UEFA on Monday.
“Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best,” the statement continued.
“We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream.”
The statement added: “The Premier League is proud to run a competitive and compelling football competition that has made it the most widely watched league in the world.
“Our success has enabled us to make an unrivalled financial contribution to the domestic football pyramid.
“A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.
“We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”