Soccer

‘It’s very risky for football & its essence’ – Ex-Arsenal boss Emery weighs in on Super League ‘war’ | Goal.com

The Spaniard, who is now in charge at Villarreal, has given his take on the controversial plans for a new European competition

Ex-Arsenal boss Unai Emery has weighed in on the “war for the control of football” that is threatening to break out after the unveiling of the new Super League, insisting the proposal is “very risky” and could remove the “essence” of the game.

Plans for a new 20-team competition to rival the Champions League were announced on Sunday, sparking widespread anger and condemnation from supporters of the clubs involved.

Arsenal, who were coached by Emery between 2018 and 2019, have been named as one of the 12 founding clubs, and their former manager has now added his voice to a growing list of high profile figures criticising the possible breakaway.

What’s been said?

The Villarreal tactician is set to come up against Arsenal for the first time since being relieved of his duties at Emirates Stadium in the Europa League semi-finals next week.

Emery has made his stance on the Super League clear ahead of that clash, telling a press conference: “This is a war for the control of football.

“The clubs have rebelled against control of UEFA.

“My position, in principle, is that I’m against it. It’s very risky for football and its essence.”

What has UEFA said about the Super League?

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has promised that all of the clubs that have signed up for the Super League will face sanctions, and that players could be punished with bans from World Cup and European Championship competition.

The Slovenian also questioned the loyalty of the owners behind the breakaway plans after unveiling the Champions League’s new 36-team format, which is set to come into effect in 2024.

“All the world knows now that they unanimously supported our reforms on Friday, when they obviously had signed the agreement [with the Super League],” Ceferin said in a statement. 

“All that are sitting there: [Ed] Woodward, [Andrea] Agnelli, [Ivan] Gazidis and Pedro Lopes from Real Madrid. I don’t have to explain more what I think about them.

“We might be naive in not knowing we have snakes close to us. Now we do. There will be legal action soon.”

Who are the other clubs involved?

Arsenal will be joined in the Super League by the remaining five members of the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ , with Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham also ready to turn their backs on the Champions League.

La Liga are set to be represented by Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, with the remaining three teams currently committed to the project coming from Italy in the form of Juventus, Milan and Inter.

Three more founding clubs are expected to be announced in the coming weeks and a further five teams will be added to the division based on certain qualification parameters.

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