ECA chairman Al-Khelaifi says Super League hold-outs 'twist narratives and shout at the sky'

By Sports Desk September 06, 2021

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus continue to "twist narratives" and "shout at the sky" by pursuing the Super League, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said.

The Paris Saint-Germain president was appointed as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) in April amid the fall-out from the proposed plans by 12 of the continent's biggest clubs to form a breakaway competition.

Al-Khelaifi replaced Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus president who left the ECA after the Serie A club committed to the Super League, a project with which PSG were not involved.

Nine of the 'founder' clubs withdrew from the plans following huge backlash from fans, but Barca, Madrid and Juve have continued to back the plans as a means to protect the future of European football.

Speaking at the ECA general assembly on Monday, Al-Khelaifi said: "I will not spend much time talking about the 18th of April, and the 'not-so-Super League', because I do not like to focus on fabulists and failures.

"Together, we defended the interests of European football for everyone – for the players, the clubs, the leagues, the national associations, and most of all, the fans. We relied on the resolve and strength of president [Aleksander] Ceferin, who stood up to the midnight coup – and people with short memories should remember that this is exactly what it was.

"And while the three rebel-clubs waste energies, twist narratives and continue to shout at the sky, the rest of us are moving forward and focusing every energy on building a better future for European football – together as one.

"As you know, for the nine clubs who asked to come back into our family, the ECA board has re-integrated them into our structures with renewed commitments to strengthen our association. I welcome them back to the ECA family."

Al-Khelaifi also announced a five-point plan from the ECA to "repair and strengthen European football", with financial safeguards a priority amid the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECA intends to create a debt fund alongside UEFA to help clubs in their recovery, while Financial Fair Play measures are set to be changed, with reports suggesting a salary cap could be introduced.

"The first priority is to bring urgent financial stability to European football," said Al-Khelaifi. "Even before COVID, many financial problems affected football. However, the pandemic has magnified them all. We are all facing this new COVID reality today – every single club is feeling the pain; big clubs and small clubs, from all parts of Europe.

"During the two pandemic seasons, there has been billions of losses in revenues in European football – and we are not through the woods this season either. If we don't act soon, the damage will be impossible to reverse.

"The ECA is working hand-in-hand with UEFA to put in place a multi-billion euro debt fund to allow clubs of all tiers to accelerate their recovery from the financial devastation of COVID. We know the need from our members is significant, and we have fought strongly for this project.

"I would like all of your support so we can quickly put the closing elements in place with UEFA. We can then provide simple and fast support to help overcome the liquidity crisis that is still engulfing our clubs and the communities they support.

"In addition, as we look to avoid financial trouble in the future beyond the COVID crisis, an emergency UEFA-ECA fund for future crises is being examined.

"Further, the ECA has also championed a separate initiative to re-distribute around €50million per year more of solidarity money for the benefit of smaller clubs not participating in European club competition. Smaller clubs need this extra money. This is what I mean by saying the ECA represents the interests of all.

"Finally, new Financial Fair Play regulations will be put in place with the objective for European club football to remain at the pinnacle of sport and entertainment, but while also ensuring a stable, sustainable, inclusive and competitive football pyramid."

Related items

  • T&T women to get much-needed competitive action against Aruba, Curacao in Carib Queen's tourney T&T women to get much-needed competitive action against Aruba, Curacao in Carib Queen's tourney

    After months of inactivity, Trinidad and Tobago senior women's football team will get the opportunity to shake the proverbial rust, as they are set to participate in the three-team Caribbean Queen's tournament in Curacao from May 28 to June 3.

    An invitation from Curacao Football Federation was welcomed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), as participation in the tournament will not only assist in player development, but more importantly, will keep players engaged ahead of next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers.

    The week-long tournament, which will also involve Aruba, will see each team will play each other twice, in what will be Trinidad and Tobago’s senior team’s first competitive outing since their Concacaf women's Gold Cup qualifying campaign, last year.

    "The respective member associations have been working together to facilitate the tournament to provide competitive matches for our respective women's teams as there are no Concacaf or Fifa women's competitions this year," TTFA said.

    The team will once again be led by former Police FC coach Richard Hood, who will be assisted by Rajesh Latchoo, the TTFA Director of Youth Football and Under-17 women's coach.

    Hood's squad is expected to be a development team, featuring senior players, members of TTFA's ongoing High Performance programme, and standout performers from the 2024 Republic Bank National Youth Football League campaign.

    "This tournament is viewed as an ideal opportunity to continue to expose our younger players to a competitive environment," TTFA stated.

    The women Soca Warriors will kick off the tournament against Aruba on May 29, before crossing swords with host Curacao, a day later. After a two-day break, Hood's team will wrap up the friendly competition with matches on June 2 and 3 respectively.

    Last year, the women Soca Warriors finished bottom of their three-team Concacaf women's Gold Cup qualifying group with Mexico and Puerto Rico. They ended with a solitary point from four matches.

    Trinidad and Tobago women are ranked 75th, while Curacao and Aruba are ranked 179th and 185th respectively.

  • 'The grass is not always greener' – Chelsea target Frank in no rush to leave Brentford 'The grass is not always greener' – Chelsea target Frank in no rush to leave Brentford

    Reported Chelsea target Thomas Frank is in no rush to leave Brentford, saying "the grass is not always greener" for managers who choose to jump ship.

    Chelsea are hunting their fourth permanent boss under the Todd Boehly regime, having surprisingly parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino by mutual consent on Tuesday.  

    With the Blues reportedly looking for a dynamic young coach capable of working within their existing set-up, Ipswich Town's Kieran McKenna and Bees boss Frank have been touted as possible successors.

    Brentford's finish of 16th in 2023-24 was their worst since Frank led them to the Premier League in 2021, but they remained comfortably clear of the drop zone despite battling a lengthy injury list and seeing Ivan Toney suspended for the first half of the season.

    Across their three seasons in the Premier League, Brentford rank ninth for expected goals (xG) per 90 minutes (1.44) and eighth for expected goals against (xGA) per 90 (1.38).

    While Frank has refused to rule out a move after almost six years as Brentford's head coach, he is not actively searching for a new job.  

    "I will probably be on that touchline on August 17," Frank told The Athletic. "I think that will happen. I'm happy here. I've said it many times and I mean it. 

    "It's close to the perfect football life. I'm not in any rush or searching to do something else but I also think I've learned in life I'm open for what can happen.

    "I can see myself being here for a long period. Can I stay here for seven more years? I don't know and that's not that I don’t love Brentford, it's just, do I want to try something different? 

    "I'm very aware the grass is not always greener in the garden next door, even if it looks like it. You get in there, take a closer look and see there are a lot of weeds in the grass."

    Brentford have already seen set-piece coach Bernardo Cueva agree to join Chelsea, and reports have suggested the Blues' hierarchy were unimpressed with how Pochettino's staff dealt with dead balls.

    Brentford ranked second for xG from set-pieces in the Premier League this season (15.7) and allowed opponents the third lowest xGA figure from such situations (8.6), behind only Arsenal and Manchester City.

  • Newcastle United 1-1 Tottenham (5-4 pens): Magpies win controversial Australia friendly Newcastle United 1-1 Tottenham (5-4 pens): Magpies win controversial Australia friendly

    Newcastle United overcame Tottenham on penalties following a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's controversial friendly in Melbourne, just three days after the end of the Premier League season.

    A crowd of 78,419 packed into Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch two of the Premier League's top seven face off in a post-season game which had been criticised on player welfare grounds. 

    James Maddison celebrated being named in England's preliminary Euro 2024 squad by firing home Spurs' opener after 32 minutes, before his Three Lions team-mate Kieran Tripper was substituted after just 36 minutes.

    Alexander Isak levelled from close range on the stroke of half-time, and the game went straight to spot-kicks after neither team was able to force a second-half winner. 

    Bryan Gil was denied by Mark Gillespie from Tottenham's first kick, with the nine subsequent attempts all successful as the Magpies triumphed 5-4.

    After the game, Newcastle boss Howe moved to allay fears over Trippier's condition, saying his withdrawal was planned.

    "We spoke with Kieran and thought the best thing to do was for him to start the game," Howe said.

    "He's still in the early stages of recovery from his calf problem, we didn't want to take risks with him so half an hour was the aim. No injury there."  

    Ange Postecoglou, meanwhile, immediately turned his attentions towards the transfer window after failing to oversee a win in his native Australia.

    "Last year, it certainly benefited us having a couple in early and having all the whole squad for pre-season," he said. 

    "Everyone wants to do business early, everyone is keen to bring players in but the reality of it is it usually takes a little bit of time.

    "But the good thing for us is we know what we need to do, we've had the plan in place for quite a while and it's just about now going through that process." 

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.