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European Super League a ‘spit in the face of all football lovers’, says Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin

Aleksander Ceferin has been Uefa president since 2016

The European Super League (ESL) is a “disgraceful, self-serving” plan and a “spit in the face of football lovers”, says Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin.

He also said players who play for teams involved in the closed league would be “banned from the World Cup and Euros”.

Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, are among 12 clubs who have agreed to join the proposed ESL.

“We are all united against this nonsense of a project,” said Ceferin.

“I cannot stress more strongly how everyone is united against these disgraceful, self-serving proposals, fuelled by greed above all else,” he said.

“[It is a ] cynical plan, completely against what football should be. We cannot and will not allow that to change.

“Players who will play in the teams that might play in the closed league will be banned from the World Cup and Euros. We urge everyone to stand tall with us as we do everything in our power to ensure this never ends up in fruition.”

He added: “This idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers. We will not allow them to take it away from us.”

‘A grotesque concept’

Earlier on Monday, Aston Villa chief executive Christian Purslow said the ESL was a “grotesque concept” and goes against everything football stands for.

“These proposals do away with sporting merit,” Purslow told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“It would enable a small number of clubs to be in this competition come what may and, for millions of people in football, that goes against everything the sport means and stands for.

“The idea is that the uncertainty that comes with sport, that makes it so compelling, that we all love, is actually damaging to the business models of these huge clubs.

“So the scheme is designed to take away that uncertainty, to give predictability to their businesses so that, if they’re badly managed or have a poor year, they’re still in the premier tournament.

“Does that sound like sport or football to you? To me it sounds a grotesque concept.”

Writing on Twitter, Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said: “Absolutely against the sporting spirit, the dream of millions of fans to conquer the champions on the field, with planning, vision, work. Kill dreams of players and fans.

“The teams are fans and WE are custodians of the club.”

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl reiterated his opposition to the move.

“There cannot be any other opinion about it. It’s a big threat, what I see coming up – war, if you want, from the big clubs,” he said.

“We will see what the future brings but it’s a big threat and we have to fight against it.

“I hope we have the fans with us, and without the fans football won’t work. They have a lot of power, these big clubs.”

And Preston North End, one of the Football League’s 12 founding clubs in 1888, said the breakaway could “destroy nearly 150 years of football history for short-term riches for the few”.

North End won the first two league titles and the club’s statement went on: “The underlying principle that these breakaway clubs appear to have completely disregarded is that football is most importantly about its supporters.

“This European Super League plan has totally ignored their voice, which is unacceptable.”

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