By Simon Evans
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – FIFA President Gianni Infantino said on Tuesday that the Super League separatist clubs cannot be “half in, half” of the established football system, while he Real Madrid owner Florentino Perez insisted he was trying to “save football” with the move.
European football governing UEFA has threatened to ban 12 clubs, including Manchester United and Real Madrid, from playing domestically and internationally, with Infantino speaking out in response to backlash.
“We are extremely opposed … if some go their own way then they have to live with the consequences of their choice, or you join, or you get eliminated. You cannot be half in and out. half out. ” Infantino told UEFA’s congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
UEFA director Aleksander Ceferin has not withheld his views on rebel clubs who will be secured a place in the new competition as opposed to the Champions League which requires teams to pass qualifying through. their domestic tournaments.
However, Ceferin insisted that this contest was the “spit in the face” of football fans, that there was still time to reconcile at the UEFA congress on Tuesday.
“I want to talk to the owners of some English clubs. Gentlemen, you’ve made a big mistake,” he said. “Some people will say that it is greed, others despise, arrogance or a complete lack of understanding of England’s football culture but it doesn’t really matter.
“The important thing is there is still time to change your mind, everyone makes mistakes, UK fans deserve you to correct your mistakes, they deserve respect.”
Also at the Games, the International Olympic Committee warned that the existing structure of European sport is threatened by self-interest and purely commercialism.
“It is challenged by a purely for-profit approach that ignores the social value of sport and the real need in the post-coronavirus world,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
There was little support for the separatist tournament, in the absence of 12 team owners.
The first senior figure of any club involved publicly speaking about the move was Perez – the new Super League president – who says football needs to evolve and adapt to the times.
“Whenever there is a change, there are always protesters … and we are doing this to save football at this critical moment,” Perez said on Spanish TV show El Chiringuito de Jugones. .
“The audience is decreasing, the interests are decreasing and something must be done. We all are destroyed. Television must change in order for us to adapt.
“Young people are no longer interested in football. Why not? Because there are so many poor quality games and they are not interested, they have other platforms to distract themselves.”
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has said he will not comment on the proposal.
“I’m not here to talk about that,” Zidane said at a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s trip Cadiz (NASDAQ 🙂 in La Liga.
Meanwhile, the German Football Federation (DFB) on Tuesday asked 12 clubs to suspend operations until their reconsideration.
“Their clubs and youth teams should be banned from all competitions until they think of the many of their fans who made them the top clubs in the world right from the start. First, and not just for their wallet, “DFB President Fritz Keller said the official DFB Twitter account.
UK ACTION PLANNING
Premier League clubs met on Tuesday without the ‘Big Six’, who had joined the breakaway Super League. The meeting is expected to decide the strategy to be carried out by the remaining 14 clubs to protect the league and their interests.
Everton, currently eighth in the Premier League and having a chance to qualify for the Champions League next season, has taken down the “unjustifiable arrogance” that has tarnished the reputation of England’s top team.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wants to speak with other countries involved, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
Asked if the Prime Minister intends to meet his Spanish and Italian counterparts on the matter, the spokesperson said: “We would like to talk to all those involved in the matter, from other countries “.
“We’re pretty clear we don’t want this to continue in our current form, so we welcome any club that wants to step back on this approach,” he added, describing the reports. reports that some clubs are planning to step back as “speculation”.