UEFA, ECA Reportedly Poised to Reject European Super League Plans

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli was appointed ECA chairman in September 2017.
Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli was appointed ECA chairman in September 2017.TIZIANA FABI/Getty Images

European football's governing body, UEFA, and the European Club Association (ECA) will reportedly reject plans for a breakaway continental competition, as well as FIFA's plans for a new Club World Cup and Nations League.

Sky Sports News cited reports from Football Leaks (h/t Der Spiegel) regarding plans for a new European Super League, adding ECA head Andrea Agnelli and UEFA president Aleksander Cerefin will announce a "combined rejection" of those rumours.

The ECA previously denied any knowledge of the plans for a newly formed tournament outside UEFA regulations that would feature 16 European teams and would begin in 2021.

It's understood the ECA and UEFA will hold a joint-press conference in Brussels on Tuesday to make the announcement.

It's understood 11 of Europe's biggest clubs would help make up any European Super League, with five other outfits invited to form the new contest.

In essence, the new competition threatens to weaken some of the continent's top leagues by taking some of their most powerful teams.

Sports writer Andy West recently looked upon the UEFA Nations League—which divided opinion when it was announced—as an example of why a European Super League could work:

Andy West @andywest01

This Nations League is great. Soooo much better than our old diet of tedious meaningless friendlies. Shows that artificial/contrived tournaments can be fun if they are done well (yes I'm talking about you, European Super League).

Agnelli, who has also served as Juventus chairman since 2010 and is a member on the board of car manufacturer Fiat, was named an executive member of the ECA in 2012. He was also appointed part of the UEFA Executive Committee in 2015.

Cerefin served as president of the Football Association of Slovenia (NZS) between 2010 and 2016 before he officially succeeded Michel Platini as UEFA president in September 2016.

Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham confirmed earlier this week that his club has been part of discussions for a new European Super League but denied the Gunners wanted to leave England's top tier, per Sky Sports News:

"Arsenal aren't or never have been interested in playing in any competition that weakens the Premier League. The Premier League is the world's leading league in the leading sport, we don't want to do anything to damage the Premier League.

"When people talk about the European Super League, that covers a really big spectrum. People jump to one end of the spectrum and think this is what we are talking about—but actually often it's just a slight evolution from where we are today."

Football writer and Liverpool supporter Ali Khaled recently voiced concern with clubs who are big forces in their domestic divisions becoming less relevant in a league made up of continental heavyweights:

Ali Khaled @AliKhaled_

@Scraggy_74 @thesefootytimes Exactly. Just thinking as a Liverpool fan, would I rather be mid table in a European superleague or challenging for the Premier League? No contest

FIFA President Gianni Infantino previously said any players who take part in the rumoured breakaway division wouldn't be permitted to play international fixtures, per the Press Association (h/t Sky Sports News):

"You are either in or you are out. If there are players who don't play organised football then that encompasses everything—national leagues, confederation competitions, the Euros and the World Cup.

"We have seen for many years these attempts to break away outside of the structures, going back to the 1990s. It is up to us to protect football and come up with solutions that benefit clubs and also the world football community."

That means those hoping to represent their national teams would need to play for a club within one of FIFA's six confederations, of which UEFA is the second-largest with 55 members (the Confederation of African Football has 56).

A new competition outside UEFA would appear to be at odds with European football's governing body as a potential competitor, though Agnelli touched on a united front between the two organisations in October:

JuventusFC @juventusfcen

Shareholders’ Meeting | Agnelli: "As ECA we have a joint vision with UEFA whom we are working with in harmony and in reciprocal respect. It's in this manner that we can find joint solutions."

A public statement from both UEFA and the ECA dismissing recent rumours would have a significant impact against any plans for a European Super League.