Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi has once again taken a swipe at the European Super League project. The Qatari businessman made a comparison to tennis to suggest that a closed-shop league was unsporting.
On Tuesday, A22, the company promoting the Super League, attended a meeting at UEFA’s headquarters with Al Khelaifi in his capacity as European Club Association president, as well as UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, LaLiga president Javier Tebas and many other senior representatives from the ECA, fan groups and FIFPRO.
Reports from the meeting suggest that it was a humiliation for A22 and the Super League as they were condemned from all sides. Then, at UEFA’s convention on Wednesday, the PSG president took the chance to hammer home some of the messages to A22.
« Unfortunately, as we saw yesterday at our meeting with A22, maybe it will become A23 or A24, a new brand every year, some people keep trying to rewrite history and divide soccer with PR presentations and power-points, » said Al Khelaifi.
« To be honest, I feel sad for them because yesterday they showed that they don’t understand soccer and its ecosystem.
« There is talk of Nadal and Federer. I have a little experience in tennis as a former player. Let me tell you that Rafael and Roger are two of the best athletes in the history of the sport.
« This is not because they played together all the time. It’s because they worked so hard. Every match was important, whatever the ranking they were playing against.
« They never asked for a closed league of the best players. They defended the tennis family. Please don’t use their big names to justify your failures. »
Fans don’t want Super League
The PSG president highlighted the opinion of the fans who were present at Tuesday’s meeting. He claims that fans have no interest in the Super League and that clubs need to listen to them.
« The future of European soccer must take into account the interests of all stakeholders, » said Al Khelaifi.
« All the leagues, all the clubs, the national associations, the fans and all the communities that need our help.
« In particular, we need to think more about the fans. At yesterday’s meeting, the voice of the fan groups was heard loud and clear. They spoke from the heart.
« Self-interest has no place in soccer. And I agree wholeheartedly. Nor do we need to tear things down to reform them.
« We can bring about great positive change from within the system – UEFA and the ECA have already demonstrated that last year. »
The message to the Superliga clubs
On the other hand, the PSG president also refuted the argument that the Champions League is not competitive with what has happened so far in the current edition. Notably, Barcelona, one of the Super League cheerleaders, failed to qualify for the last 16.
« We hear that the Champions League is not exciting enough and that European soccer is completely broken. But [Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus] keep playing the tournaments, I don’t understand, » said Al Khelaifi
« Last week, in the case of my club, the group winner was decided in the last minute: congratulations to Benfica, deserved winners.
« And all the teams in Group D could have finished first or last in the group. But apparently that’s not exciting enough and they have the solution.
« It is said that the Champions League is not competitive enough. But a lot of big clubs didn’t qualify from the group stage.
« This could have been my team – that’s soccer. No club has a divine right to win. »
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