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uefa hit back Plan to throw Super League clubs out of European competition THIS season being formalised


Image: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Image: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Image: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

Uefa executive committee member Jesper Moller says three of the remaining four Champions League semi-finalists will likely be thrown out of this season's competition at Friday’s extraordinary meeting.

Twelve clubs – including the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’ – are part of plans which would fundamentally alter the shape of European football.

This was supposed to be the day where the spotlight was on UEFA’s plans to revamp its competitions from 2024, but instead Ceferin faced questions about the impact of a different event entirely, one which he described as “a spit in the face” of football lovers.

Now Moller says the ultimate punishment will be handed out to Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid, as he suggested they will be thrown out of the Champions League before playing their semi-finals next week.

"The clubs must go, and I expect that to happen on Friday. Then we have to find out how to finish (this season's) Champions League tournament," said Moller, who is the head of the Danish FA, told broadcaster DR on Monday.

Meanwhile, UEFA chief Aleksander Ceferin has warned UEFA is working to ban breakaway European Super League clubs and their players from its competitions “as soon as possible” and urged domestic leagues to follow suit.

He was visibly angered at the conduct of some of the leading orchestrators of the breakaway, including Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, describing them as “greedy” and adding: “They don’t know s*** about solidarity.”

It is understood the Premier League has called its other 14 clubs to an emergency shareholders’ meeting on Tuesday morning, to which the ‘big six’ – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – have not been invited.

It will be a chance for the clubs to consider what happens next. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told the House of Commons that the Premier League and the Football Association were “considering a wide range of sanctions”.

He warned the Government stood ready to do “whatever it takes” to prevent the clubs from breaking away if the actions of the football authorities prove insufficient.

Ceferin and the rest of the UEFA hierarchy is still seeking legal advice on the steps it could take to sanction the “dirty dozen” – as he called them at one point – and said it was still too early to say when they would know what form the sanctions could take.

But he said: “We will take all the sanctions that we can and we will inform you as soon as we have a clear answer about it, but my opinion is that (we must do that) as soon as possible. They have to be banned from all our competitions and the players from our competitions.”

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Three of the four Champions League semi-finalists – Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid – are part of the breakaway while Arsenal and Manchester United are in the Europa League semi-finals.

There remains the possibility of players belonging to those 12 clubs being banned from Euro 2020.

Asked whether domestic leagues should also kick them out, Ceferin added: “This is the decision of domestic leagues but we are in contact with them and I’m sure they will do the same sanctions, as we will do, within the law of course. We work within the law always and within institutions.”

Ceferin said there was still a way back for the clubs, but vowed he would “never” agree to a deal where the Champions League fed into the Super League.

“I didn’t say they’re not allowed to come (and talk), that they are banned from European football forever or something like that,” he said.

“It’s nothing personal here, maybe with Agnelli it’s a bit personal because I know him more. But for the rest I don’t want them to come begging us to take them back – I just want them to respect us.”

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Online Editors