Ed Woodward leads nine Premier League clubs in 'Super-Champions League' talks

Manchester United CEO Ed Woodward [Courtesy]

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward joined rival European chiefs at the 22nd ECA General Assembly.

Woodward and other bosses, including Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli, AC Milan's ex-Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Ajax chief Edwin van der Sar, have been discussing the possibility of changing the face of European football.

The ECA has 232 member clubs, nine of which hail from the Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City, United, Newcastle and Spurs.

Representatives from 164 clubs, including Woodward, are in Amsterdam looking to evolve the Champions League from 2024, with the potential for promotion and relegation having been discussed - something Agnelli says "might be logical internationally.”

And the Juve boss, in his role as ECA president, also remarked on how clubs must now be dictating to UEFA over the potential ‘Super-Champions League’ - rather than being led by European football's governing body or FIFA.

"We are at the beginning of the process and we must take more time to analyse all the proposals, as it is not a matter of yes or no,” said Agnelli

"The new Champions League is pure speculation at this time. Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Juventus want to play the competition, but also hundreds of other teams.

"We are talking and in a few months we will see if the new competition will be open for everyone. The process will be open and transparent, as was the meeting with UEFA.

"This is how football should be in the future and the talks will take place between two and 20 months.

"The dialogue will be open for all the clubs and we will look for a fair system for football and for European clubs, without forgetting all the parties.

"We are the centrepiece of world football and we must drive change.

"There will be a new Super-Champions League in co-operation with UEFA. We are opposed to the new 24-team World Cup and demand fewer international breaks."

ECA chiefs remain unhappy with FIFA’s recent decision to announce changes to the Club World Cup from 2021.

FIFA decided at a meeting of its policy-making Council in Miami earlier this month to go ahead with a revamped competition that will feature 24 teams; it currently features just seven.

"We are not willing to participate in this competition at this moment in time because of the congested calendar,” declared Agnelli. "Having said this, we are more than available to discuss changes for the future.

"The way this has been managed is like managing the local lottery for thanksgiving. As it stands, we have nothing there.

"We (the clubs) are the ones taking the risks, we are investing in the long term, we are investing in players, in infrastructure, we are the ones who carry the entrepreneurial and financial risks.

"(The argument of) substituting the Confederations Cup with the Club World Cup doesn’t make much difference in our view so there is a congested calendar which can only be addressed in the years to come.”

Agnelli also denied that the ECA has proposed playing Champions League matches at weekends, something which Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has also stated he is against.

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