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Uefa angrily rejects revived Super League plans

Uefa has angrily dismissed a group promoting a revamped Super League proposal, saying “the whole of European football opposes their greedy plan”.

BBC Sport has been told a three-man A22 Sports Management delegation received a “mauling” at the two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the game’s most significant stakeholders in Switzerland on Tuesday.

The A22 group says it is an independent body, but both Uefa and the influential European Clubs’ Association (ECA) believe it is acting on behalf of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus.

Those three clubs opted against abandoning the European Super League project last year.

Uefa’s simmering discontent spilled over when they took exception to the wording of a statement released by A22, in which they outlined their meeting with Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin and “a large group of other executives”.

The three A22 representatives were surprised to find Uefa had invited 22 additional guests, including senior figures from the ECA, the European leagues and fans’ groups.  They also said the broad dismissal of their position was expected, and that some clubs had already started speaking to them about their plans.

This drew a stinging response from European football’s governing body Uefa, which, less than three hours after releasing its first statement, sent out a much stronger one.  Uefa said: “A22 Sports Management has published an account of their visit to Uefa Headquarters in Nyon today.

Uefa is currently checking the recording to see if they are talking about the same meeting.

“The ‘other executives’ they refer to were not faceless bureaucrats but senior stakeholders from across European football, players, clubs, leagues and fans; people who live and breathe the game every day. To fail to recognise that is disrespectful.

“If there is a ‘takeaway’ from today, it should be that the whole of European football opposes their greedy plan.

“A22 wanted dialogue so we gave them 2.5 hours of time from all of the game’s stakeholders and each one rejected their approach. They claim not to represent the three remaining clubs

They refuse to define what their alleged new approach is. They claim to want dialogue. But when presented with the chance, they have nothing to say.”

Uefa and the ECA said they remain opposed to the concept of a breakaway league.  A22 dismissed these comments.

“We are heartened by the fact that we have already been contacted by and are in conversations with numerous clubs who wish to take part in this dialogue to develop a sustainable foundation for European club football,” said A22 chief executive Bernd Reichart.  A22 believes Uefa has no automatic right to run European football.

BBC Sport has been told that the A22 representatives declined to outline what their vision for the future of the game looked like.

A ruling on how football should be governed is due from the European Courts of Justice next year.

Direction is due from the ECJ’s advocate general on 15 December, which may give a guide as to the potential outcome.  It has been suggested the renewed noise around the ESL idea is an effort to exert influence on the judges who will make the ruling.

Senior figures from Real, Barca and Juve have all recently spoken out against the current financial state of the European game.

Juventus posted a record £221.36m loss in September. Barcelona had to pull numerous ‘economic levers’ to avoid more massive losses after posting a £418.69m loss last year.

Neither side made it through to the Champions League knockout stage this season and instead will play in the Europa League knockout round play-offs in February.

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