UEFA and Europe’s biggest clubs are set to kill off the proposed Super League – and adopt the planned revamp of the Champions League.
In the clearest sign of the new mood in European football, Uefa General Secretary Giorgio Marchetti opened the general assembly of the European Club Association with a withering blast at the Super League plans pushed by Real Madrid and backed by Manchester United and Liverpool.
And that was followed up as ECA head and Juventus president Andrea Agnelli urged the clubs to commit to the Uefa-led proposal for a 36-team elite competition from 2024.
In what was a blatant attack on the Super League plotters, Marchetti said: “We realise that unity can easily be dissolved when insidious ideas are pursued under the pretense of survival, growth or business needs.
“Unfortunately, the rest of football, about 99 per cent of it, would not be invited to enjoy this new super union.
“Surviving this affliction is not just about quick fixes or effective remedies that fit the wealthiest and the privileged few but taking care of everybody, the whole of football, the big and the small, the weak and the strong.”
He added: “Our combined ideas and efforts have produced the greatest revamp in club competition formats in decades.
“The reforms will provide renewed strength and unprecedented excitement going forward.
“With the project we have in mind, Europe’s premier club competition post 2024 will be even more compelling and ready to face a new landscape of fans and viewers.”
Uefa’s plan will see the 36 teams in one league but playing ten matches in the opening phase.
The so-called “Swiss system” will mean teams play seeded opponents to ensure a fair calculator.
The top eight sides after ten matches will automatically reach the last 16, with the final eight places decide by home and away play-off games involving the sides finishing ninth to 24th.
And Agnelli made clear he wants the clubs to come out and back the Uefa model.
He said: “The Super League idea is now common knowledge.
“Organisations like JP Morgan, who backed it, see returns on their investments, but not solidarity.
“But if we change ourselves, we can look forward to those returns in investment ourselves. We have to intercept and act, or risk implosion.”
Agnelli suggested that a series of ‘arguments, almost fights’ with Uefa President Aleksander Ceferin had helped bring Uefa and the ECA together.
He added: “As Giorgio pointed out, we will have a presentation about the revised formats from 2024 onwards.
“We have had lots of media speculation. That is the famous Swiss system.
“The very first impression of what is now a breakthrough system was very sceptical but I think the beauty of the system has now been recognised by all.
“Now I truly hope and ask we endorse this system going forward and mandate the board to execute the last details, the access system that has still to be finalised, in the next couple of weeks.
“There are too many games that are uncompetitive, at both domestic and international level. Fans cannot be taken for granted and we have to deliver the best possible competition or risk losing them.”