Juventus supremo Agnelli: ‘I’ve never discussed Super League’

Juventus supremo Agnelli: ‘I’ve never discussed Super League’
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin also describes Super League concept as ‘fiction’.

Juventus Chairman Andrea Agnelli has denied the Italian soccer club’s involvement in secret talks over a European Super League in an interview with the BBC.

Agnelli also chairs the European Club Association, which represents 232 professional sides throughout Europe. His Juventus side was named in reports from German magazine Der Spiegel as one of 11 top European outfits to have discussed the prospect of a breakaway competition involving 16 of the continent’s biggest clubs, closed to the founding members and starting in 2021.

Since the publication of the Football Leaks documents – which reportedly stemmed from correspondence between Spanish company Key Capital Partners and Real Madrid – both FIFA and UEFA have said they would oppose any such move.

Agnelli, however, maintained in comments made to the BBC that he was never part of any discussions. He said: “I can confirm we have never seen, never discussed, never been involved in the creation of this document.”

He added: "We are fully engaged with UEFA in shaping the game going forward.”

Speaking alongside the Italian, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin poured scorn over the breakaway concept, explaining that while European soccer’s governing body would continue to seek new competition ideas, a Super League was not among the options.

He said: “The Super League will not happen. It is in a way a fiction now or a dream. We have some ideas. All I can say is that any Super League is out of the question. Participation stays. And everybody will have an opportunity to compete in every European competition.”

Ceferin added: “We know that we have to slow the gap [between rich clubs and the rest] because probably it will be hard to stop completely.

"And I'm not sure if we want to have everyone equal without intervention. I think that wouldn't be the right approach because if you are doing a good job, you're working a lot, trying to do something, you have to be rewarded for that.”

Agnelli’s claims follow an explanation from Arsenal Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham, who declared that, while Arsenal have no interest in playing beyond the Premier League, he would want the London club to be part of discussions.

However, contrary to Agnelli’s assertion, Venkatesham did admit that the conversations had taken place. He told reporters: “As part of the European Club Association, we had to look at all the options for the future. And one of them, of course, could have been the possibility of a European Super League.

“We had a working team that participated. I was at Barcelona at the time and [former Arsenal chief executive] Ivan Gazidis was there too.

“At the end of the day the outcome was the best possible because we got into a new deal with UEFA, within the system that protects the domestic leagues.

“I think that it was a consensus solution for the football family. I think the [Champions League] became much more interesting because there are tougher teams now playing. The revenues have increased and the proof is the evolution in terms of broadcasting and sponsorship, which is exponential. This cycle has grown from the previous one. So I think the final outcome was the right one.”

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