Football

UEFA must back ESL to ‘stop’ Premier League power

UEFA must back ESL to ‘stop’ Premier League power
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Barcelona president Joan Laporta wants UEFA to get on board with a European Super League because football « needs it » to stop Premier League clubs running away from the rest.

Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus remain standing from the 12 founder members of the Super League project in their pursuit of a new competition for Europe’s top clubs.

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They argue UEFA’s governance of European football constitutes an illegal monopoly under EU competition, but an advisory opinion from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) last week sided with UEFA.

A final ruling is expected in 2023, though, and Laporta said he remains « optimistic » and told UEFA it is not too late for the governing body to change its stance on the creation of a new competition.

« We have to reform how European football works, » Laporta told Barca TV in a wide-ranging interview to mark the end of 2022 on Thursday.

« The Premier League will pass from €5 billion to €7bn in television rights — and LaLiga from €2bn to €1.7bn. LaLiga teams cannot compete with Premier League sides. [Barca] compete because of our history, but [English sides] have more and more resources all the time. This has to change.

« We hope the final court resolution in the spring will be favorable and in the interest of the clubs and free competition in Europe, which is the argument with UEFA.

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« We are working hard to improve the competition for the financial sustainability of the clubs and to change the governance model because in the football industry it’s the clubs that make the least [money]. That cannot be the case.

« I am optimistic. I think the final resolution will have an impact similar to the Bosman ruling. The clubs need the power to create and govern our [own] competition.

« UEFA should be at the governing table with us. And if they aren’t, we could find investment from a country outside the EU with resources to organize a competition. I think football needs it. But I always try to create dialogue, [whether] with UEFA, LaLiga… we are open to talking. »

Laporta also played down hopes of bringing Lionel Messi back to the club, saying he didn’t want to « generate expectations for something that is hugely difficult » to pull off with Paris Saint-Germain hopeful of extending his contract, before predicting a quiet January transfer window for Barca.

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« We did our work in the summer, » he said. « There are no signs that we will have to make any signings in January. The team is very well balanced. »

In terms of signings, Barca’s hands are tied by LaLiga’s financial fair play rules, but they could lose players, with captain Sergio Busquets yet to make a decision on his club future after retiring from international football last week.

Busquets, 34, said recently he’s « attracted » by the idea of ​​moving to Miami amid interest from Inter Miami and, with his contract up in June, said he wants clarity on his future by February.

A move to Major League Soccer in January is also on the table, but Laporta has made it clear Barca want him to see the campaign out at Camp Nou, where he remains a regular in the team.

« We want him to stay, » the Barca president added. « [Coach] Xavi told me he wants him until the end of the season; he is counting on him.

« We will see what Busquets decides, either now or in the summer, on his future. It’s been commented that he has offers from MLS now, but I hope he stays until the end of the season. Whatever decision he takes will be a well -considered one. »

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