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Agnelli: ‘UEFA’s monopoly must be broken’

Former Juventus president Andrea Agnelli spoke with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf about the ongoing efforts to begin a European SuperLeague: ‘UEFA’s monopoly must be broken to give clubs a financially stable future.’ Agnelli was at the helm of the Bianconeri when the project was first proposed in 2021 and has continued to speak of its necessity in modern football. Speaking with Telegraaf, he outlined the need for a new league, why it’s so vital in the current moment and the benefits he believes a new European competition would bring to clubs around Europe:

“UEFA’s monopoly must be broken to give clubs a financially stable future. A future in which clubs do not fall if they do not qualify once for European competitions. This is a problem for any club. Ajax became Dutch champions in 2019, won the cup and the Super Cup and played in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Two months later, the club could have been eliminated in the preliminary round of the new Champions League. With such uncertainty, it is not possible as a club to make long-term sustainable and sound decisions. That is why I am in favour of a league system in top European football, with more financial and sporting opportunities for each club.”

“In 2019 we were ready, Aleksander and I (Ceferin, ed.). The top clubs from all ECA sub-divisions had agreed on a new format. The medium-sized clubs in the big leagues, the managers of the big leagues and some national associations saw the new format as a threat and so Ceferin withdrew. The clubs were in favour of a revamped and improved European football system. When UEFA decided to stop the project, plans emerged from outside UEFA to organise a new league with all clubs in the ECA. Whether the project gets off the ground will depend on the European Court of Justice.”


“In many competitions, national and international, the winners are known in advance. Mainly because of the income clubs get from the domestic market. England ranks first in this respect, and one can see how the Premier League is generously represented in the final stages of European cup tournaments. Spain is right behind along with clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich. But in a sports competition it is important that every participant has a chance to win. So also Ajax, Feyenoord and Juventus. As a football fan, I strongly support such an international competition. Contrary to the international federations. They have no regard for the problems of the clubs.”

“If everything remains as predictable as it is at the moment, the public will turn away from football. […] Hence the idea of a European league with several divisions with a promotion and relegation system. Provided they offer equal opportunities to the clubs. Think of sixty to eighty clubs across Europe. With my 13 years of experience in football, I know how things work, I have collected ideas and I say it is time for fairer leagues. Not leagues determined solely by trade, nor by the markets where more money is spent on football.”

“From a European perspective, the biggest markets also get the most Champions League tickets and therefore the most revenue. Therefore, if the current system is maintained, the gap between the English and Spanish clubs in particular and the others will only increase. Except probably for PSG and Bayern Munich. Instead, one should aim for more sports democracy. Doesn’t a Polish club have the right to achieve success? Don’t Polish fans have enough passion for football?’ he added.

“I have many contacts with clubs and many are in favour of a different football landscape. But if you talk to me, agree with me or follow me, you get banned by UEFA. As a club, openly proclaiming that you want a better and fairer European league model does not make you sympathetic. So clubs defend their position and comply with UEFA.

“My successor at the ECA is Nasser Al-Khelaifi, President of Paris Saint-Germain. A nice guy. He did not follow the Super League. He supported UEFA because another league is not in the interest of Qatar, the owner of PSG. No change can be expected from him. But underneath, there is enough enthusiasm for new league initiatives among many clubs, but also among players, the public, TV companies, commercial parties and investors.

“Only UEFA has a monopoly and is holding everything back. As long as the European Court allows it. The ruling is expected in the spring. I am very curious to know whether the Court will confirm the monopolistic position of the UEFA associations in a free European market. If it does, the Court will not consider the football industry, with an annual turnover of around €50 billion and 700,000 jobs involved, as an economic activity, but as a small game, an activity based on volunteers playing a game of football on a part-time basis.”

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