- POSTED: 11 Oct 2013 00:24
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The body that represents Europe's leading clubs has rejected a claim from Galatasaray president Unal Aysal that they are planning to launch a breakaway pan-continental Super League by 2018.
LONDON: The body that represents Europe's leading clubs has rejected a claim from Galatasaray president Unal Aysal that they are planning to launch a breakaway pan-continental Super League by 2018.
Speaking earlier on Thursday, Aysal said that the new competition would replace the hugely lucrative Champions League and its sister competition, the Europa League, and would run alongside existing national championships.
"The first 15, 20 big clubs of Europe all agree with this. Nobody will say no -- Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, of course," he told reporters at the Leaders in Football conference in London.
"There may be one or two exceptions for local reasons, political reasons, and I will understand, but as the future for European clubs and the future of football, nobody can say no to this."
However, the European Club Association, which represents 214 leading European clubs from across the continent, said that no such plans had been discussed.
"The European Club Association (ECA) has taken note of comments made today (Thursday) regarding the alleged creation of a European Super League in 2018," it said in a statement.
"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."
ECA chairman 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."
Aysal, who believes European football has become "stagnant", admitted that no concrete moves towards the formation of such a competition had been taken, but he expressed a firm belief that it would come to pass.
"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.
Asked if the competition could be launched when a five-year Memorandum of Understanding with UEFA expires in 2018, he replied: "It could be."
Aysal also suggested that the tournament could be expanded beyond Europe's borders, saying: "Are we staying in the European Union, or are we pushing it up to Asia or to the Middle East? That's something that has to be studied correctly."
He suggested that the clubs would be prepared to turn their backs on European governing body UEFA if the organisation opposed their scheme.
"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," he said.
Juventus president Andrea Agnelli expressed theoretical support for the concept, saying: "If one wants to break out of the system, then probably the best competition is a closed competition with the 20 best European clubs."
However, he later insisted that he had been speaking in "purely academic" terms.
"I don't think the time has come for a European Super League," he told reporters.
"If we question the system, then we want to re-think the way we bring forward the football business model, then we open up our minds and something new can come."