In a direct appeal to the owners of English clubs in the Super League project, UEFA President Alexander Cheferin on Tuesday called on them to change their minds out of respect for football fans.
Cheferin hailed and criticized the six-club English group – made up of American billionaires, Arab royalty and a Russian oligarch – less than 48 hours after the start of the Super League in alliance with three clubs from Italy and Spain.
“Gentlemen, you have made a huge mistake,” Cheferin told European football leaders at UEFA’s annual meeting. “Some will say it’s greed, others will say they ignore arrogance, flirtation or complete ignorance of England’s football culture. Does not matter.
“The important thing is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes. “
Cheferin urged them to give up respect for fans in England, directing another thorn in what he had previously called “a few selfish people.”
“Come to your senses,” he said. “Not out of love for football, because I imagine some of you don’t have much of that.”
The UEFA president quoted an email he received from a Tottenham fan, one of the six rebel clubs in the Premier League.
“If you read the email, you’ll be close to crying,” Cheferin said of a fan he identified only as Trevor, who was given two tickets to the 2019 Champions League final when Tottenham lost to Liverpool.
Cheferin said fans and governments had supported UEFA in resisting the proposed 20-team Super League, which threatened to directly challenge the Champions League and damage the historic pyramid structure of European football.
“We can’t lose this match,” said Ceferin, a Slovenian lawyer.
The clubs have not said when their planned split league, taken over by the American bank JP Morgan Chase, will start.
On Monday, Cheferin said he wanted Superleague clubs and their players banned from all UEFA competitions “as soon as possible”.
It is unclear whether UEFA’s statutes and Champions League rules will allow this before Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City play in the semi-finals next week. Manchester United and Arsenal will also play in the semi-finals of the Europa League next week.
Earlier on Tuesday, in a speech that seemed to accuse club owners and releasing players, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said he could only “strongly disapprove” of the Super League.
“If some choose to go their own way, then they have to live with the consequences of their choice,” Infantino said. “They are responsible for their choice.”