Uefa dismiss European Super League plans

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The Independent Football

A European "Super League" is a non-starter for Uefa chief Michel Platini, senior officials within European soccer's governing body said today, playing down media reports it was mulling plans for such a competition.

Platini was quoted by France Football as saying Uefa was prepared to discuss plans from European teams to create a continental league to replace the Champions League and Uefa Cup.

Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport said the project also had some backing from within Uefa.

"People should not mix-up the philosophy and reality. As far as the president (Platini) is concerned such a proposal (super league) is a non-starter," a senior official close to Platini told Reuters.

"He (Platini) is always open to dialogue and to look at ways of adapting and improving Uefa competitions in line with the times. But he has his own philosophy and beliefs about the game and one such belief is that he is dead set against a super league."

France Football quoted Platini as saying: "Everybody knows my philosophy about European competitions... but the world is changing and we must be careful about that."

"If it was up to me, I would revert to European Cups as they were at the beginning, with just knockout rounds. But we must listen carefully to any suggestion. If (clubs) come and talk to us, we would listen to them and then decide."

The European Club Association (ECA), which represents 137 leading teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, talked about a "Super League" during a meeting last week in Nyon, Switzerland, France Football reported.

The Super League would be made up of three divisions with 20 to 22 clubs in each tier, the two newspapers said. Promotion and relegation would occur between the divisions each season.

European domestic leagues would remain if a Super League ever got the go-ahead, Gazzetta said, but the number of matches in individual championships would have to be reduced so that top clubs could play in both competitions.

Gazzetta said the global economic crisis had prompted the often-mooted Super League idea to resurface but gave no indication over when advocates wanted the tournament to start.

"Nobody in Uefa is working on a super league. It simply has not been brought up as a matter," another UEFA official said.

The official, with knowledge of a recent meeting of Uefa's strategy committee - comprising of representatives of the ECA, leagues, players and Uefa - also confirmed that the issue of a super league was not raised by the clubs at the meeting.

The Uefa Cup is being rebranded as the Europa League next season. Platini voted against the name change, but backed the expansion of Uefa's second-tier competition whose image has suffered since the rise of the more lucrative Champions League.