International Football
Doubling up on the World Cup would devalue it, clubs told by UEFA President Ceferin

UEFA president Aleksandr Ceferin has repeated his attacks on both the proposal to stage the World Cup every two years and on the aborted Super League project.

Ceferin was addressing the annual assembly of the European Club Association in Geneva.

The ECA is headed by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who triples up as head of the beIN media broadcasting group, president of big-spending French club Paris Saint-Germain and as a member of the UEFA executive committee.

Europe’s federation is emerging as the one region opposed to the World Cup revolution being promoted by FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Ceferin said: “The value of this competition is precisely because it is held every four years. Playing it every two years would devalue it.”

On the issue of the Super League which rose and fell at high speed in the middle of last season, Ceferin said: “This was disgraceful.”

Premier League sides Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham withdrew within 72 hours of founding the Super League alongside six other clubs in April.

AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid also withdrew, while Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have not renounced the breakaway competition.

Unity essential

Ceferin added: “In 2020 and 2021 nothing has been normal and now what we all want is to return to normality. It is essential to maintain unity in the face of this misfortune and the noisy Super League . . . It has been an episode that we do not want to live again. We have to be united, to be a model for football.”

Nine of the clubs who withdrew from the Super League rejoined ECA last month but Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have not yet been reinstated.

Al-Khelaifi, reviewing the brief crisis, said: “Together we defended the interests of European football for everyone. We relied on the resolve and strength of [Uefa] president [Aleksander Ceferin], who stood up to the midnight coup. He said ‘we will win’ and we did.

“While the three rebel clubs waste energies, twist narratives and continue to shout at the sky, the rest of us are moving forward.”

Ceferin also insisted that UEFA would continue with its financial fair play system which was wrecked by the disruptive impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

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TVM Sport
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