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UK Govt vows to stop breakaway football league

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Breakaway Super League clubs Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid are likely be banned from this season’s Champions League semi-finals, while the UK Government is vowing to “put everything on the table” – including restructuring club ownership and withdrawing government support – to stop the breakaway group from succeeding.

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Twelve of Europe’s top clubs announced on Sunday they were setting up the European Super League as a rival to UEFA’s Champions League, prompting widespread anger among players and fans who labelled the proposal greedy and feared it would diminish the game’s competitive merit.

Unlike the current Champions League format, the founding members of the Super League are guaranteed entry into their competition every year, ensuring the top clubs take home a consistent stream of revenue.

English clubs Manchester United and City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham are part of the breakaway group, along with Spain’s Barcelona, Real and Atlético Madrid, and Italy’s Juventus, AC and Inter Milan.

Real Madrid are due to face Chelsea in the Champions League next week, and Manchester City are drawn against Paris St Germain, who have not signed up to the breakaway league.

“The clubs must go, and I expect that to happen on Friday,” Moller, who is the head of the Danish FA, told Danish broadcaster DR on Monday.

“Then we have to find out how to finish (this season’s) Champions League tournament.

“There is an extraordinary executive committee meeting on Friday.”

Moller’s comments came shortly after UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he wanted bans on the rebel clubs to be imposed.

“We’re still assessing with our legal team but we will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon we can,” he said.

“My opinion is that as soon as possible they have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from all our competitions.”

Meanwhile, UK Sports Minister Oliver Dowden has said the British Government will do everything possible to block the Super League and would review policing support for clubs and even the introduction of windfall taxes.

Dowden said he had met with the Premier League, the Football Association (FA) and the president of UEFA to discuss the plans that involve six English clubs.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to object to the plans on Sunday evening and Dowden said the government would act to block the project even if football authorities could not.

“Be in no doubt, if they can’t act, we will,” Dowden told parliament on Monday.

“We will put everything on the table to prevent this from happening.

“We are examining every option from governance reform to competition law and mechanisms that allow football to take place.

“Put simply, we will be reviewing everything the government does to support these clubs to play … we will do what ever it takes to protect our national game.”

Asked whether the government measures under consideration included a windfall tax on breakaway clubs, Dowden said he was looking at all options.

Other measures could include reviewing policing support for games and visas for players.

Dowden said Britain has looked closely at the German model of majority fan-ownership of soccer clubs, and will examine the idea more closely in an upcoming fan-led review of governance of the sport.

“We’ve examined the German model very closely,” he told parliament.

“It’s very interesting to note that German teams are not participating in this.”

Italy’s sports undersecretary said she was very worried about the consequences that could arise from the creation of the breakaway Super League, which includes Italian clubs AC Milan, Inter and Juventus.

“I am very worried about the consequences that an institutional clash could bring to the sports world,” undersecretary Valentina Vezzali said in a statement.

“I hope that the sports authorities involved can quickly find a solution,” she added.

-AAP

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