Talk of a European Super League has been rife for a few months now, and Juventus have been front and centre in those rumours. Today club president Andrea Agnelli dismissed those suggestions speaking in his capacity as the head of the European Club Association (ECA).
“I can confirm we have never seen, never discussed, never been involved in the creation of this document. We are fully engaged with UEFA in shaping the game going forward. It will be our duty to safeguard the great heritages of European football but on the other side I think we are very well aware that we have to safeguard markets, we have to think about upcoming markets.
“We have to think about Poland. We have to think about [countries like] Turkey, we have to think about Russia. Fans can rest assured that if we put our hands to making a new product it’s because we want to make sure that fans across Europe engage.
“The dogma of the dream has to stay alive, because it is the foundation of European sports. Evidently if you want to have an overall rebalancing of European football and more international [European] football, all that would have to go hand in hand with a reduction of domestic games.
“But most importantly it is harmonising. Today you take England, for example, that has two national cups. A team potentially plays 53 domestic games. Then you take Germany where the maximum number of games is 43 because there are two fewer teams in the league and there is only one cup. So that is 10 games difference. Is it logical?
“There’s a whole system of anomalies that have to be addressed. It might mean in certain leagues increasing the amount of games. It’s not just about reducing, it’s about making it a level playing field, which is very important.”
Agnelli also criticized FIFA for the bloated format of the Club World Cup. However, he is equally critical of a rumoured FIFA plan that would see top European sides play other clubs from around the world with $25bn promised from investors.
The ECA and UEFA are against that idea though as it would rival the Champions League.
“We [the ECA], as a club, believe in this [current] model. Sometimes I joke with [Aleksander] Čeferin that it’s easier to be UEFA President than ECA President because of the interests present.
“Every club, from the amateur levels to the top teams run an entrepreneurial risk. whether it’s Juventus or the smallest club in Iceland, we all want to grow - that’s logical. Our goal though is not to attract people with indecent proposals. $25bn is an offer we’ve only read about.
“We have a lot to discuss with FIFA because the current Club World Cup doesn’t work. The Intercontinental Cup was much better, the new format is a failure and we need to discuss that. It’s difficult to talk about proposals we’ve only read about in the media. This proposal of $25bn was supposed to relate to two competitions, but we don’t know anything about it directly and we haven’t voted on it.
“We’ve convinced that the reform of European competitions from 2024 will be a model to follow.”
The ECA and UEFA have committed to work together until 2024 at least, with the expectation that a third European competition might come up then.
“We’ve made a statement of our willingness to develop European football together. The meeting had been scheduled before these recent leaks [about a Super League] and that was positive in reaching a joint declaration today.
“There has been a lot of speculation in recent weeks, and this is definitely a great opportunity to show that we have the desire to continue to work together not just until 2024, but also beyond.
“Since 2015 there has been a lot of talk of getting to Financial Fair Play 2.0, and we have worked for to develop a third European-level competition for which we’re now waiting for the approval of the Executive Committee in December.
“If it’s approved there will be a third competition after 2024. Let’s look further though, our intention is to change the international match calendar.”