'Nobody can break the ecosystem of football' – PSG president Al-Khelaifi firm on Super League opposition

By Sports Desk September 05, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi believes the 12 teams who attempted to form a European Super League tried to "break the ecosystem of football".

In April 2021, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Milan, Inter, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool tried to form a breakaway competition.

Along with Bayern Munich, PSG were a notable absentee, with the Ligue 1 side having opted against joining the plan.

The proposal swiftly broke down, with the six English clubs, the Milan teams and Atletico all dropping out, though Juve, Madrid and Barca are still pushing for a Super League.

Al-Khelaifi has been one of UEFA's firm backers in the divide, and replaced Juve chairman Andrea Agnelli as head of the European Club Association (ECA).

Speaking at the FPF Football Talks event in Portugal, Al-Khelaifi claimed the widespread opposition to the Super League proves football's "ecosystem" - the fans - cannot be damaged.

"The ecosystem of football is bigger than just two or three clubs," he said.

"That's very important and I think a message has been sent to everybody that nobody can break the ecosystem of football, the fans.

"The love of football is stronger than anyone and any business."

A contentious new Champions League format will come into play from 2024. A further four teams will be able to qualify, and instead of a group stage, there will be a single, 36-team league.

Teams will no longer play three clubs twice, but will instead face different teams and have more initial fixtures overall. There is also a controversial possibility for two of the extra qualification spots to be handed to the domestic leagues who have performed best in UEFA competitions.

Al-Khelaifi, whose team take on Juve in their Champions League opener on Tuesday, is a fan of the new format, however.

"You call it Super League, I call it non-Super League," he added.

"For me, the sales from the new [Champions League] format, the US has increased without even Spanish language 150 per cent, and the UK and France increased a lot also.

"So I think it shows this new format is a success even before we started it."

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