Uefa president stresses opposition to European super league
Re-elected Aleksander Ceferin pledges to make European football more competitive
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin was re-elected Uefa president for another four years. Photograph: Francois Walschaerts/Reuters
Aleksander Ceferin has emphasised his firm opposition to a breakaway club “super league”, and to Fifa’s currently shelved proposals for a revamped Club World Cup, at the congress that confirmed his unopposed election as the Uefa president for another four years.
At Uefa’s annual congress in Rome, Ceferin committed to unspecified plans to “design the club competitions of the future” with the European Club Association, which is dominated by the biggest clubs, while also pledging to make European football more competitive. That appears to open the possibility, once the agreed football calendar ends in 2024, of a revamped Champions League with more matches in the group stage, the preferred option of the ECA president, Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus chairman.
“While we lead these two organisations,” Ceferin said, referring to Uefa and the ECA, “there will be no ‘Super League’. It is a fact.”
Renewed concern about a breakaway competition from Uefa was sparked after the German magazine Der Spiegel published internal emails from some major clubs showing advanced exploration of the possibility. Agnelli told the Guardian last year he wanted the Champions League group stage to provide significantly more matches by playing in four groups of eight clubs rather than eight groups of four.
Ceferin maintained he had been right to oppose the plans for a transformed four-yearly Club World Cup, with unnamed financial backers, promoted by the Fifa president Gianni Infantino. Projecting that Uefa will generate €5.72 billion in 2019-20 principally from the Champions League, Europa League and European Championship, Ceferin called for constructive working with Fifa “rather than opposition”, saying that respect means disagreeing with friends “when we think in all humility that they are wrong”.
Greg Clarke, the Football Association chairman, won election as one of Uefa’s nominated Fifa vice-presidents, which is guaranteed to a representative of the British home nations. That strengthens the English FA’s position in international football relations, with David Gill already a Fifa council member, and will further encourage an FA bid to host the 2030 World Cup, which is under consideration. Ceferin said that Uefa would “do everything possible to bring the 2030 World Cup to our continent”.