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Soccer-Serie A calls emergency meeting after breakaway Super League report

Soccer-Serie A calls emergency meeting after breakaway Super League report

FILE PHOTO: DAZN's live sports streaming service is seen on a moble phone at NTT Docomo's flagship shop in Tokyo, Japan, June 30, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

MILAN -Italy's Serie A called an emergency board meeting on Sunday after a newspaper report on a breakaway European Super League, two league sources said.

The meeting comes ahead of Monday's UEFA executive committee at which plans to expand and reform the Champions League, changing the format from 2024, are expected to be agreed.

Corriere dello Sport reported that global sport streaming service DAZN, which is owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, has been working on the formation of this 16-team league, featuring the top clubs in Europe, for some time.

DAZN rejected the report in a statement sent to Reuters.

"In relation to a report by Corriere dello Sport today, this and related reports are false. Neither DAZN nor Mr. Blavatnik are in any way involved or interested in entering into discussions regarding the establishment of a Super League and no conversations have taken place," DAZN said.

One of the sources told Reuters that the league had recently become aware of the plans for a breakaway project and the potential involvement of DAZN.

The meeting, which has been held remotely, with the three Serie A clubs who could potentially be part of the Super League project - Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan - among the attendees, according to Corriere dello Sport.

The Times newspaper reported that five top English clubs had signed up to the breakaway, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.

The only member of the "big six" not to have signed up is Manchester City, the paper said, citing sources with knowledge of the development.

UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In January, European media reported plans for a breakaway European league, citing a document which outlined a 20-team league, outside of UEFA’s control, made up of 15 permanent members and five who would qualify for the competition annually.

Since then leading clubs in the European Club Association (ECA) have been negotiating with UEFA over a new expanded and restructured tournament.

Serie A clubs last month awarded DAZN the main domestic rights to screen Italy's top-flight soccer championship for the next three seasons.

It caps a tumultuous week for Serie A after seven clubs submitted a written request for the league's president Paolo Dal Pino to resign over issues including his management of plans to sell a stake in the league's media business.

Inter, Juventus, Napoli, Lazio, Atalanta, Hellas Verona and Fiorentina jointly signed the letter, seen by Reuters.

Soccer's world governing body FIFA issued a joint statement in January with the six continental confederations including Europe’s UEFA saying any players taking part in a Super League would be banned from FIFA competitions like the World Cup.

Gabriele Gravina, president of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC), reiterated the organisation's opposition to a European breakaway Super League.

"We have been always against a Super League," Gravina, who is attending the UEFA Congress in Montreaux on Tuesday, told Reuters. "The only viable project is the Champions League reform promoted by UEFA."

(Reporting by Peter Hall, Simon Evans and Elvira Pollina, editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: Reuters/jt

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