By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli said on Monday that the Italian champions were not involved in talks over a breakaway European Super League and remained committed to UEFA competitions.
Earlier this month, German magazine Der Spiegel reported that plans for a European Super League were back on the agenda after several previous discussions came to nothing.
Der Spiegel and European Investigative Collaborations, a network of international media, citing leaked documents, reported that a fresh plan had recently been drafted by Spanish company Key Capital Partners for Real Madrid.
The plan foresees 11 top European clubs creating a Super League in 2021 when the current agreement on the Champions League format and revenue sharing ends.
Juventus were named as one of 11 prospective founders for the closed breakaway league but Agnelli told the BBC that the Italian club had not been involved.
Agnelli, who is also chairman of the European Club Association, which represents more than 200 European clubs, said: “I can confirm we have never seen, never discussed, never been involved in the creation of this document.
“We are fully engaged with UEFA in shaping the game going forward,” he added.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told the BBC that European soccer’s governing body continued to look at new ideas for its club competitions but that a Super League was ruled out.
“The Super League will not happen. It is in a way a fiction now or a dream,” said Ceferin.
“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,” he added.
UEFA currently runs Europe’s elite Champions League club competition and the second-tier Europa League, while it is expected to vote for a new third competition next month.
Ceferin said UEFA needed to make sure that emerging football markets were able to tap in to their tournaments.
“We have to think about Poland with 60 million people. We have to think about (countries like) Turkey, we have to think about Russia,” added the Slovenian.
“Fans can rest assured that if we put our hands to making a new product it’s because we want to make sure that fans across Europe engage.”
Agnelli said that any expansion of European football, in terms of a new structure for the Champions League, could see less domestic football.
“Evidently if you want to have an overall rebalancing of European football and more international (European-wide) football all that would have to go hand in hand with a reduction of domestic games,” said the Juventus chairman.
“There’s a whole system of anomalies that have to be addressed. It might mean in certain leagues increasing the amount of games. It’s not just about reducing, it’s about making it a level playing field, which is very important.”
(Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Ken Ferris)