Football: No Uefa link-up to super league link-up

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The Independent Online
UEFA, THE European game's governing body, last night insisted that it had no plans to work with the organisation behind a proposed super league.

Claims by the Milan-based Media Partners that Uefa had agreed to review the company's plans for the league were "absolutely not true", the Uefa official, Guido Tognoni, said.

"General secretary Gerhard Aigner made it clear to Media Partners that Uefa has its own plans and does not need their advice on running a European league," he added.

Uefa officials met Media Partners on Friday in Geneva and following the meeting the company issued a statement saying: "Uefa have agreed to review the European Football League plans in consultation with national associations."

Tognoni said there was no such agreement. "We agreed to meet them as a courtesy," he said. "We listened to their presentation but told them we will go our way. We have our own project which we will reveal in our own time. We certainly don't have any further meetings scheduled."

Liverpool, one of the teams linked with a new super league, believe they are close to ending Steve McManaman's lengthy new contract negotiations after Michael Owen signed a new deal on Saturday. Owen has signed a renegotiated five-year deal that doubled his wages and put him on about pounds 20,000 a week.

McManaman said talks were at an advanced stage and "hopefully something should be sorted out very soon".

One of the club's joint managers, Gerard Houllier, said McManaman could be next to agree from a batch of young players in talks with the Merseysiders over new deals. He said: "Maybe the first signing for the club could be Steve McManaman, and of course we hope to keep Macca and Robbie Fowler."

Fowler's imminent return to full fitness is likely to inspire further talks on his new agreement, too.

With Jamie Redknapp - back in action for the first time in five months in Sarurday's 0-0 draw against Arsenal - having signed a long-term deal at the end of last season, the only blot on what one of the club's joint managers, Roy Evans, calls "ongoing negotiations" is the former England full-back Rob Jones. Last week he rejected a two-year extension to his deal, which runs out next summer.