Domestic leagues reject creation of European Super League

PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, second left attempts a shot on gaol as Manchester City's goalkeeper Joe Hart closes. (Jon Super/AP)

MADRID — Europe’s domestic football leagues made clear their opposition to a European Super League on Monday, arguing that such a move would end many clubs’ dreams of competing at the highest level.

Lars-Christer Olsson, chairman of the European Professional Football Leagues, said Monday that his group is "absolutely against" the idea of a Super League and that "there are better ways to improving European football."

Talks between leading English Premier League clubs and an American sports marking marketing company last month sparked a wave of speculation about a revamped Champions League with guaranteed places for Europe’s top clubs.

"We would like to make it clear that we are absolutely against an introduction of a European Super League," Olsson said after a board meeting in Madrid. "We think that the European competitions should be based on the qualification from the domestic league competitions."

The group’s concern is that the Super League would be monopolized by the top clubs and hurt the smaller teams, which currently have a chance of qualifying for the Champions League by finishing high enough in their domestic leagues.

Olsson said there is a need to safeguard "the basic dream and goal" of any club "to compete at the highest level and possibly win a European club competition."

"We must keep the dream alive for all clubs," he said. "We will work hard to protect the current calendar so that there is room for domestic club competition, in addition to European club competitions."

The EPFL said in a statement that competitions "run by the European leagues at domestic level represent the core essence and unique base of professional football."

Monday’s board meeting was hosted by the Spanish league, whose president Javier Tebas has been an outspoken critic of the Super League idea.

"The domestic leagues would be greatly affected by it," Tebas said. "From the beginning, our position has been against the European Super League and other similar projects. The European Super League would be a complete failure."

Tebas said the board also discussed a possible redistribution of revenue from European competitions to try to benefit smaller leagues across the continent.

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