NEWS
Tuesday September 27 2011
De Laurentiis plans for a super league

Aurelio De Laurentiis has spoken of his thoughts on UEFA, his hopes for a European super league and Napoli's priorities this season.

The Napoli President was talking ahead of his team's opening home match of their Champions League campaign, a clash with Villarreal.

Whilst confirming his ambitions for the team for this season's competition, and his preference between that and the Italian League, De Laurentiis also told Il Corriere dello Sport of continued plans for a European super league.

"In March, I would like to still be in the running in the Champions League. We are behind the Spanish and English? Yes, we need new rules."

De Laurentiis also revealed that given the choice between being in the Champions League in the knock-out stages, or being in contention for the League, that he would choose the Champions League.

However, where he places value on the competition, the President did move to shy away from the club's achievement in reaching it as his victory.

"It is not a victory. Unfortunately abroad, when it comes to Naples, we are often thought of as a beautiful part of Italy and being Italian. It was only right in respect of the city to work towards making it known for something that works, and that is football.

"We are at the right time. Four years ago we tasted the European climate with the Intertoto Cup. Then last year we made the Europa League. In reality, the difference I have noticed is the indirect manner through media attention that is exalted towards our club in landing on the biggest stage, the Champions League.

"This confirms what I've always said about [UEFA President Michel] Platini. I have always criticised the fact that the third-ranked team from the group stages of the Champions League then gains entry to the Europa League, altering power relations.

"It then happens that in the UEFA Super Cup that the Europa League winners can beat the Champions League winners, as Atletico Madrid recently did over Inter. There is no point in this way to demean credibility by forming a more important trophy.

"Just as I think it is a an own goal to rejoice because Germany have an extra place in the competition at the expense of Italy."

De Laurentiis' solution is to create a European super league.

"I have said this for some time: we need to create a league in which there are six or seven Italian teams, six or seven German teams and so on participating. Then, since I'm a fundamentalist, say that you take the top teams from the five major footballing countries.

"I understand that anyone who seeks to be elected has a more economical idea because he needs votes, but voting has nothing to do with the validity of a championship. Often, institutions do not seem to understand that football is there for the fans."

The Napoli patron cited UEFA's reluctance to take on board new technologies as part of the reason he is suggested the European Club Association take advantage of 2014, when their agreement with FIFA and UEFA is up for renewal.

"This is not to oppose Platini, nor is it to say, like Platini, that De Laurentiis is new to football. I do not believe that the pursuit of truth is becoming obsolete.

"We must be alert to changes in technology. In India, in terms of interest, football take precedence over the cricket withina few years because the technologies are pushing in that direction.

"In 2014 the agreement with Platini expires and at that point there will be a line where [Barcelona President Sandro] Rosell is more favorable than the President of UEFA, and [Bayern Munich CEO and ECA chairman Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge is more innovative.

"This is not to create division, but to create a table for consultation. I repeat, we must pay great attention to technological innovations or we may fall behind, and see things turn towards economic losses."

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