Football: Uefa: 'Super league will destroy football'

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A BREAKAWAY European super league will endanger football's credibility and discriminate against eastern Europe, the president of Uefa, European football's governing body, said in a newsletter published yesterday.

"An attempt is being made, by way of secret meetings, secret documents, secret agreements and pressure on the clubs, to destroy the traditional structures of European football and to make money off the back of our sport," Lennart Johansson wrote in Uefa Flash.

His comments come two days after Rodolfo Hecht, the president of the Milan-based marketing firm, Media Partners, outlined his super league proposals in an interview with the Independent. Hecht's plans - which would involve Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool if they join - include a league, a knock-out cup and guarantees of greater income for participating sides.

Uefa had refused calls in the past year from Europe's big clubs to revamp its tournaments until Media Partners went public with its plans. Uefa now plans to thwart the super league by reforming its own club competitions. Johansson said money would not dictate Uefa's plans, adding it was "obvious that financial gain is [Media Partners'] priority, not football."

Karel Van Miert, Europe's competition commissioner, will meet Media Partners on 7 September and Uefa a few days later. Van Miert, a keen football fan, has often criticised Uefa and Fifa, football's world governing body, as undemocratic forces.

Meanwhile yesterday, the former European champions and last season's First Division winners, Nottingham Forest, reported a pounds 4.6m loss for the year. Forest blamed wages, Premier League costs and heavy transfer fees for their poor final results. "Future trends in player wages continues to be the major source of concern for clubs our size," a club statement said.

Steve Simonsen, the highly-rated Tranmere Rovers goalkeeper, is expected to join Everton today for an initial fee of pounds 2.7m, which may rise by pounds 1m depending on appearances.

Wolves are giving a trial to the 25-year-old Internazionale reserve goalkeeper, Raffaele Nuzzo.

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