Arsenal are one of 12 clubs that have reportedly agreed to join a breakaway European Super League with owner Stan Kroenke set to be on the board of the new competition.
The New York Times says the founding members could make a formal announcement about their plans in the next 24 hours before UEFA ratifies changes to the existing format of the Champions League tomorrow.
In January, FIFA and UEFA threatened players with bans from international competitions should they take part in any such breakaway competition and the governing bodies have again reacted furiously with news their initial threats have not been taken seriously.
A joint statement by UEFA, the Premier League, the Spanish Football Federation and Serie A labels the project “cynical” and “founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.”
Now a joint statement from UEFA, English, Spanish and Italian FAs and leagues in those three countries to say they are determined to stop “this cynical project”. pic.twitter.com/Wgay6qMWeK
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) April 18, 2021
In a statement of its own, the Premier League said: “A European Super League will undermine the appeal of the whole game, and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future prospects of the Premier League and its member clubs, and all those in football who rely on our funding and solidarity to prosper.
“We will work with fans, The FA, EFL, PFA and LMA, as well as other stakeholders, at home and abroad, to defend the integrity and future prospects of English football in the best interests of the game.”
— Carrie Brown 💙 (@CarrieBrownTV) April 18, 2021
The FA added: “For new competitions to be formed involving clubs from different associations, approval would be required from the relevant National Associations, confederation and/or FIFA. We would not provide permission to any competition that would be damaging to English football, and will take any legal and/or regulatory action necessary to protect the broader interests of the game.”
Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Sp*rs are the other English sides involved in the project. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Juventus are also involved. So far, sides from Germany and France have rejected the chance to take part. PSG’s stance is said to be dictated by the fact their president, Nasser al-Khelaifi, sits on the UEFA board.
The competition is being bankrolled by venture capitalist money with clubs being offered up to €350 million to take part. That would go a long way to offset any financial losses from a European ban next season if UEFA were to get serious about a counter-attack.
Arteta on the Super League story:
"I don’t know anything about it. Once I know every detail and I have all the information, then I can evaluate and give you an opinion."
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) April 18, 2021
Mikel Arteta was asked about the rumours after Arsenal drew 1-1 with Fulham. “I don’t know anything about it,” he said.
“Once I know every detail and I have all the information, then I can evaluate and give you an opinion.”
If he isn’t a fan of the plans, it’s going to be very hard for him to express that publicly given his employer appears to be at the heart of them.