UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin on Thursday vowed there would never be a breakaway European Super League during his term in office.
Ceferin — set to be reelected for a four-year term later Thursday at the organisation’s Congress in Rome — said both he and Andrea Agnelli, president of the European Club Association (ECA), were united in opposing the initiative.
“A clear message: while the two of us continue to lead our respective organisations, there will be no Super League. This is not a promise. It is a fact,” Ceferin told the Congress.
“To prove it, yesterday (Wednesday) we signed a memorandum of understanding with the ECA that runs until 2024. And this is only the start.”
Leaked emails and documents published last November claimed that a host of Europe’s biggest clubs were working on plans for a 16-team Super League to kick off as early as 2021.
“As the media revealed in November, it seems that, shortly before and in the months following my election, a handful of big European clubs were considering a breakaway,” continued Ceferin.
“We talked to each other. We listened to each other. We understood each other. Today, we are united again.
“Andrea, thank you for everything you have done over the last few months to bring European football together again behind a common ideal.”
Agnelli, also chairman of Italian giants Juventus, on Wednesday hailed the agreement as “an important moment in the history of European football”.
Ceferin, a 51-year-old Slovenian lawyer, took over as UEFA president two and a half years ago after a corruption scandal toppled his predecessor Michel Platini, and is the only candidate going forward for election in Rome.
“Major clubs, you captivate entire generations,” Ceferin said.
“You make football popular. This gives you rights and privileges. But this also gives you responsibilities.
“Major clubs, if you had carried out your alleged plan, your clubs would have lost their status as ‘great clubs’ in the hearts of the people.
“The only thing ‘great’ about you would have been your past, and nothing else.
“By respecting the football pyramid, by respecting our sport’s institutions and history, by respecting the principle of competitions that are open to everyone, without exception, by respecting the promotion and relegation system that lies at the heart of our sporting culture…you remain great clubs in the world’s eyes. The greatest clubs in history. For eternity.”