November 14, 2018 / 10:19 PM / a month ago

Soccer: European clubs 'committed' to working with UEFA

NYON, Switzerland (Reuters) - European clubs are committed to working with UEFA on the future of competitions such as the Champions League, the European soccer body said on Wednesday in the wake of reports that a breakaway Super League was back on the agenda.

FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

Following a meeting of the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC), the first since the Football Leaks documents were published earlier this month, UEFA said that “unity” was the key to European football success “at all levels”.

The Football Leaks documents were obtained by German publication Der Spiegel and reviewed by Reuters in partnership with European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media.

Citing the documents, Der Spiegel reported that plans for a Super League were back on the table, having previously been abandoned in 2016.

Der Spiegel said a fresh plan had recently been drafted by Spanish company Key Capital Partners for Real Madrid which foresees 11 top European clubs creating a Super League in 2021. Key Capital Partners has not commented on the report.

UEFA said that all members of the council agreed that “unity will help to ensure the growth and sustainability of football at every level, right across the continent.”

“In this context, all parties underlined their commitment to working together towards the development of club competitions under the leadership of UEFA,” it said.

The statement did not mention Football Leaks directly, yet sources told reporters that it was on the PFSC agenda.

The sources said the club representatives on the panel, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli and Paris St Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, were asked about the Super League reports by other panel members and denied any such plans were being discussed.

The European Club Association, which represents more than 200 members and is chaired by Agnelli, has already said it is “completely unaware” about proposals to create a Super League.

UEFA said the council discussed possible changes to the formats for European competitions starting from 2021, including a possible third tournament.

“Views were further exchanged on the matter,” it said,

European Leagues (EL) presented their own proposal for the future of club competitions, the statement said.

Unveiled in Frankfurt last month, the EL proposal is aimed at reducing the financial gap between the biggest clubs and the rest.

The leagues want UEFA to allocate fewer Champions League group stage slots to teams from the biggest leagues.

They are also calling for revenue to be more equally distributed between the Champions League and Europa League competitions and to overturn recently-implemented changes which reward clubs financially for their historical record.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis

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