UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin says a European Super League is “out of the question” in a debate with Juventus President Andrea Agnelli.
The pair were present at the Festival of Sport in Trento today, and both took part in the same event.
Agnelli is head of the European Club Association, and there has long been talk of the continent’s biggest clubs forming their own competition to be played at weekends, with league matches in midweek.
“The objective is to modernise football, which is changing,” Ceferin began, as reported by calciomercato.com.
“The introduction of a third European competition goes toward the will of the clubs, who want to grow the number of teams involved in international competitions.
“That’s something that will be submitted for approval in December. The Champions League also has changed and will change.
“We have to simplify it, but Agnelli can speak from the clubs’ point of view with more authority as he’s head of the ECA.
“He knows and understands that if we don’t develop football, including in smaller countries, then football will die.”
Agnelli then responded.
“I’m pleased to be here sharing this meeting. When we talk about the future of football, we must have passion as the foundation.
“We’re in a phase of evaluation for the football of the future. The change in the Champions League has been minimal, and Germany has benefited from it. We’re looking for more inclusion, but with a focus on quality.
“In Italy we’re only interested in the real games, the important rounds, the qualifiers are hardly followed - just look at Atalanta.
“In the summer months there are 10 matches in two months, the clubs in the middle need that calendar to be streamlined and improved.
“That’s in UEFA’s interest, they’re with us and we’re with them. From 2024 there’s a blank sheet, that’s when the current international calendar ends and from then on we can write something new.
“Currently we have tournaments which are staggered, which are played in different months but also have a lot of different games. So there’s room to optimise and harmonise everything.
“The centre of interest [in football] is clearly Europe. We’re all thinking about rebalancing schedules and national cups, which also means offering more solidarity to countries that need it.
“Having a blank page before us is exciting, and a challenge which can be won if all those invested work with passion.”
That was taken as a hint at a European Super League, something the UEFA President ruled out.
“A European Super League would damage football worldwide,” Ceferin warned.
“It would be boring, because watching Juve-Bayern Munich every week would be more boring than, say, Juve-Torino.
“For me it’s out of the question and as long as I’m here I’ll fight in every way to make sure it doesn’t happen.
“If we’re talking about a closed system then you can forget about football development and solidarity, and clubs will lose out in the long run.”
Agnelli then responded.
“We are talking about a closed system, I’ve often talked about American models in the past, which have to be kept because they bring returns.
“I often joke with Ceferin and say: ‘if we do a Super League we won’t do it with you, we’ll go somewhere else’.
“What I want is to identify a model for development and growth within the system. What must remain is the dogma of being able to win one’s highest national competition. That has to stay.”