Europe's top leagues and UEFA have vowed to do everything in their power to block a so-called European Super League and urged others to boycott what they describe as a "cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs".
The creation of a European Super League took a step closer to reality on Sunday as 12 leading clubs agreed plans for a new competition, according to widespread reports.
It is thought that up to six English clubs, three Italian sides and three Spanish teams have joined forces, with an announcement expected this weekend.
UEFA, the English Football Association, the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have today released a statement.— UEFA (@UEFA) April 18, 2021
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No clubs from Germany or France are involved, meaning reigning European champions Bayern Munich and last season's Champions League finalists Paris Saint-Germain are not included, though reports state the plan is for the competition to be expanded to 16-18 teams.
It has also been suggested PSG refused an invitation to the new competition, while one of the counter-threats supposedly put forward by UEFA was said to be the exclusion of the 12 teams from its competitions.
The news of this move by some of Europe's biggest clubs comes just before UEFA is set to confirm its intentions to alter the format of the Champions League.
According to reports in The Daily Mail, the Super League is being financed by United States-based investment bank JP Morgan.
The Mail also claim Madrid president Florentino Perez will likely act as chairman of the competition, with the American owners of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal – John W Henry, Joel Glazer and Stan Kroenke – acting as vice-chairmen. Juve chief Andrea Agnelli is to act as the fourth vice-chairman.
"UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.
"If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.
"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.
"As previously announced by FIFA and the six Federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.
"We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough."