NEWS
Thursday February 7 2019
UEFA warns clubs over CL exit

UEFA has warned clubs thinking about leaving the Champions League that they would ‘no longer be great’ but praised the FIGC for its handling of racism.

Speaking at the 43rd UEFA Congress in Rome on Thursday morning, UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin stood up to FIFA’s Gianni Infantino, asserting he was not a ‘yes-man’.

“Respect also means telling our friends, family, colleagues, bosses and partners when we disagree with them and when we think, in all humility, that they are wrong,” he explained.

“It is often the yes-men who lure leaders to their demise. And conversely, it is often those who disagree in a measured, reasonable and constructive way, even if they sometimes do so in a direct, uncompromising fashion, who do them the greatest service, help them move forward and prevent them from making mistakes.

“By telling FIFA that we disagree with their current proposals on the global Nations League and Club World Cup, we show them respect and we show respect to football, the game we love and the game we must protect.

“We sincerely hope that FIFA will also show us respect by listening to our views… UEFA and European football deserve to be respected.

“As long as [ECA chief] Andrea Agnelli and I are in charge of these two organisations there will be no Super League. It is a fact.

“[If clubs had split from the Champions League], they would have lost their status as great clubs in the hearts of the people. The only thing great about you would be your past.

“Trust me, you will not regret [taking a stand against cynicism and greed].”

The FIGC recently announced plans to tighten up anti-racism procedure at matches after Kalidou Koulibaly was abused during Napoli’s 1-0 defeat to Inter on Boxing Day, as well as ordering the Nerazzurri to play two games behind closed doors.

“The FIGC acted in the right way. It made the right choices,” concluded Ceferin.