Nasser Al Khelaifi re-elected into UEFA Executive Committee as ECA representative; applauded for rejecting ESL
Nasser Al Khelaifi, Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain, was on Tuesday re-elected to the UEFA Executive Committee as European Club Association (ECA) representative for an additional three-year term of office.
Speaking at the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland, Nasser Al Khelaïfi stated, "I am honored by the trust placed in me by my colleagues of the ECA to represent them on the UEFA Executive Committee. European football is at a pivotal moment, in which all stakeholders should work together; in good faith, with dignity, and to protect the game we all love."
On Sunday, a group of 12 "elite" clubs comprising of three teams from Spanish La Liga (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid), three from Italy's Serie A (Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan) and six from the English Premier League (Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur); had announced plans to establish a European Super League (ESL) that offers permanent spots to some of the world's biggest clubs to play matches midweek.
The controversial plan was firmly rejected by several clubs across Europe, with PSG and Bayern Munich leading the opposition to what was generally seen as a project that would destroy European football.
Commenting on the club's position regarding the latest developments in European club competitions, Nasser Al Khelaifi said, "Paris Saint-Germain holds the firm belief that football is a game for everyone. I have been consistent on this since the very beginning. As a football club, we are a family and a community; whose fabric is our fans - I believe we shouldn't forget this.
"There is a clear need to advance the existing UEFA competition model, presented by UEFA yesterday and concluding 24 months' of extensive and collaborative consultation across the whole European football landscape. We believe that any proposal without the support of UEFA - an organization that has been working to progress the interests of European football for nearly 70 years - does not resolve the issues currently facing the football community. Paris Saint-Germain will continue to work with UEFA, the European Club Association and all stakeholders of the football family - based on the principles of good faith, dignity and respect for all."
The promoters of the project led by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who is also chairman of the Super League, said that financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic are among the reasons for the breakaway.
Meanwhile, Khelaifi has continued to receive commendations globally for his firm stance against the ill-fated project.
During his speech at the UEFA congress yesterday, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin thanked Khelaifi for his firm stand despite strong pressure to join "the 12".
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Nasser (Al-KhelaIfi, president of PSG). You have shown that you are a great man and that you respect football and its values. The same goes for Jean- Michel Aulas (OL), who is here today. Thank you for coming. You are leaders that the supporters of your clubs are lucky to have," Ceferin said.
The current status of the ill-fated ESL
Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have become the latest European sides to pull the plug on their commitments to the much-maligned Super League.
The Premier League's Big Six - Manchester City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham - all withdrew from the European Super League late on Tuesday night, leading to its suspension amid a widespread revolt from fans after news emerged just 48 hours earlier than they were six of the 12 founding members.
And now both Inter and Atletico have confirmed they have joined the Premier League's Big Six in performing a U-turn, leaving just AC Milan, Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid on their own in the doomed Super League.
Inter said in their statement on Wednesday morning that they will continue to work with the relevant authorities in the future in order to 'continue to excite fans of all ages over the world'.
"FC Internazionale Milano confirms that the club is no longer part of the Super League project,' the statement read. 'We are always committed to giving the fans the best football experience; innovation and inclusion have been part of our DNA since our foundation. Our commitment with all stakeholders to improve the football industry will never change," the statement reads.
Meanwhile, LaLiga outfit Atletico admitted they withdrew from the Super League in order to ensure 'harmony' remains between the club, players and its loyal fans.
The club's statement read: 'The Atletico de Madrid Board of Directors, meeting this Wednesday morning, has decided to formally communicate to the Superliga and the rest of the founding clubs its decision not to finally formalize its adherence to the project.
"Atletico de Madrid made the decision last Monday to join this project in response to circumstances that no longer exist today.
"For the club, harmony is essential between all the groups that make up the Rojiblanca family, especially our fans."
In a new twist to the ongoing saga, Juventus president Andrea Agnelli has performed a U-turn on comments made just hours earlier that the European Super League would still go ahead as planned despite the six English clubs pulling out of the competition.
Agnelli has been the breakaway competition's biggest proponent along with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, and had been adamant that the league would move ahead regardless of the decisions made by other clubs, but that stance has changed.
"You can't have a tournament with just six clubs," Agnelli told Reuters.
Earlier, Agnelli had insisted that the breakaway tournament would go ahead.
"There has been a blood compact between our clubs, the Super League project has a 100 percent chance of success, we will move forward," Agnelli told Republica.
The crisis led to the resignation of Ed Woodward from his position as vice-chairman at Manchester United following the criticism the Super League received from their fans.
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