Uefa warns G14 clubs against breakaway move

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The Independent Online

Uefa's chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson says European football's governing body will not be forced into talks with the G14.

The G14 élite group of clubs - which includes Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool - have been indirectly warned they could be thrown out of their domestic leagues if they choose to break away from existing Uefa competitions.

Although reports of a separate tournament to rival the Champions' League have been denied, the influence of the G14 has been criticised for having a negative impact on the game.

"We don't have to talk to the G14 - but we will talk to the clubs," said Olsson. "There's no room for accommodation - we are throwing lots of olive branches to the clubs. When we talk to the individual clubs their views are not as militant as when they are coming from the G14 office in Brussels. It's creating the conditions for a war rather than trying to find agreements.

"Most of the clubs are saying 'we don't want to break away' but then they change their statutes to say that now we should be able to organise a competition. Now they have to show their real cards."

At the heart of the criticism levelled at the G14 are claims the clubs are more interested in money than football. For instance, many Champions' League clubs were in favour of keeping the second league phase of the competition because it guaranteed fixtures and revenue.

The Champions' League represents the most lucrative tournament in Europe, with Olsson suggesting the money generated could be more evenly distributed. "Our opinion is that the money generated from the final rounds should be distributed to those who are actually doing the grassroots work.

"The [big clubs] want the entire pie. If Uefa hadn't acted there would be no distribution, not even to the top professional clubs in the smaller countries. We are the only guarantee for a proper distribution model.

"If you take the club competitions like the Champions' League, more than 80 per cent of the money goes to the 32 participating teams in the final rounds. It is not too much to say that 20 per cent should go elsewhere."

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