European Super League denial

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The Independent Online
Rick Parry, the chief executive of the Premier League, last night dismissed reports that European football's governing body, Uefa, would be forced into forming a super league as "wild speculation", writes Guy Hodgson.

Uefa meets representatives of 36 clubs from Europe's 12 leading nations, including Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United and Rangers, in Brussels on 7 February, and there have been suggestions that a European League will be on the agenda.

Parry discounted that, however. "People should not get carried away with the idea of dramatic outcomes," he said. "This should be the start of constructive and positive dialogue and not the basis for rumour and speculation.

"The Premier League believes that there is a need for dialogue on a number of matters ranging from the Bosman case to fixture dates. Talk of alliances on other matters is wild speculation."

Nevertheless, Uefa is liable to hear a few home truths from the clubs, including their concern about the Bosman judgment and the governing body's resistance to demands from the European Commission to scrap limits on the number of "foreigners" clubs can field.

The Premier League will resist any attempt by Uefa to reduce main European club leagues to 18 teams as part of their future plans. "We have reduced to 20 clubs and talk of further reductions is not appropriate at this stage," Mike Lee, its spokesman, said.

Rangers have put forward a number of proposals, including a "system to eradicate the preliminary round of the Champions' League, enabling more clubs to participate in the Champions' League". They have also suggested Uefa Cup changes, with qualification only through domestic league placings, the introduction of pre-qualification, and the final to be just a single match, rather than over two legs, at a neutral venue.

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