By DAN KARELL
By 2018, the UEFA Champions League as we know it could be gone.
On the second day of the Leaders in Football conference in London, the chairman of Turkish club Galatasaray, Unal Aysal, told the press and those in attendance that the 20 biggest clubs in European soccer are in “serious discussions” to create their own European Super League, and it looks like they plan to go ahead with it, with or without the backing of UEFA. The current agreement between the European Clubs Association (ECA) and UEFA ends in five years time.
“It’s not yet totally elaborated and prepared and put on the paper,” Aysal said at the conference. “But it is a concept that is under discussion for a few years. It is not a new concept, but we favor it. The system has to be put in place, either by UEFA or by the clubs themselves. Then we will decide if a breakaway will be necessity or not.”
“The first 15-20 big clubs of Europe all agree with this – nobody will say no. Manchester United, Paris St Germain, Real Madrid.”
Here are some more stories from around the world to catch up on:
ROONEY ADMITS REASONS FOR TRANSFER REQUEST LAST SPRING
For the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters last May that Wayne Rooney had handed in a transfer request, Rooney has spoken to the media about why he wanted to leave Manchester United.
Now happy and enjoying his soccer, Rooney said that he was unhappy about playing out of position last season under Ferguson. Ferguson routinely placed Rooney at times in midfield or out wide, when the English National Team star wanted to play up front as the main striker.
“I didn’t feel I got a consistent run of games up front,’’ Rooney told the Telegraph. “I actually felt when I played midfield I did okay but I didn’t want to play there. I felt I deserved the right to play in my position and that wasn’t happening.
“Everyone at the club knew that’s where I wanted to play. That’s why I was disappointed because I got told to play in midfield and I didn’t want to but I’d always go in and try to help the team. There had to come a point where for my own career I had to be a bit selfish really.’’
Rooney also admitted that he’ll start discussions with Man United soon over a new contract that will keep him at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.
UEFA CONSIDERING SCRAPPING FRIENDLIES FOR “NATIONS LEAGUE”
At a recent meeting of UEFA representatives in Croatia, one of the many topics discussed was a reported “Nations League” that would replace friendly matches played by European nations.
According to Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, all 54 nations in UEFA would potentially be split up into nine groups of six teams, with promotion and relegation from the top to the bottom. The winner of the top division would receive a prize from UEFA. The league wouldn’t replace any of the qualifiers for the European Cup or World Cup that the UEFA nations partake in, but it would replace the currently friendly match structure in place.
If the “Nations League” does become reality, UEFA would likely try to centralize the television and marketing rights for every game, just like they do already for the the Champions League and Europa League.
“The success of the Champions League has already inspired the Europa League,” Norwegian FA President Yngve Hallen told Dagbladet. “This is also something they are trying to look at in connection with the Nations League – how this can sharpen the market. That’s what this is largely about.
“But there have been very clear political guidelines from all 54 federations that the focus needs to be on the football/competitive aspect. All countries should have equal opportunities.”
What do you think of these reports? Do you see the Champions League being replaced? What do you think of Rooney’s comments? Do you like the idea of a UEFA “Nations League”?
Share your thoughts below.