QUOTES-Soccer-Reaction to major European clubs announcing breakaway Super League

·6 min read

(Adds Juergen Klopp and Edwin van der Sar reactions)

April 19 (Reuters) - Twelve of Europe's top football clubs announced on Sunday that they were launching a breakaway Super League in the face of widespread opposition from within the game and beyond.

Following are the Super League's statement and some reactions to the news:

THE SUPER LEAGUE

"The pandemic has shown that a strategic vision and a sustainable commercial approach are required to enhance value and support for the benefit of the entire European football pyramid."

LIVERPOOL MANAGER JUERGEN KLOPP

"People are not happy with it, I can understand it. I can't say a lot more because we were not involved in the process - not the players, not me - we didn't know about it.

"The players didn't do anything wrong. We have to all stick together. We can show nobody has to walk alone in these moments. There are things to sort but nothing to do with the football or the relationship between the supporters and the team."

AJAX CHIEF EXECUTIVE EDWIN VAN DER SAR

"We support the new set-up proposed by UEFA, as confirmed on Monday... We thought we had found the solution with the so-called Swiss model, with more international competitions for more clubs.

"We are very disappointed in the sudden and late turnaround that fellow directors of some top international clubs have made this weekend, with the result that a very uncertain period threatens the horizon of European football."

PRINCE WILLIAM, ENGLISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

"Now, more than ever, we must protect the entire football community – from the top level to the grassroots – and the values of competition and fairness at its core.

"I share the concerns of fans about the proposed Super League and the damage it risks causing to the game we love."

BAYERN MUNICH CEO KARL-HEINZ RUMMENIGGE

"I do not believe the Super League will solve the financial problems of European clubs that have arisen as result of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Rather, all clubs in Europe should work in solidarity to ensure that the cost structure, especially players' salaries and agents' fees, are brought in line with revenues, to make all of European football more rational."

PORTO PRESIDENT JORGE NUNO PINTO DA COSTA

"There were informal contacts from some clubs, but we didn't pay much attention ... The European Union does not allow a closed circuit of events like in the NBA, for example.

"As the Portuguese Football Federation is against this, and as part of UEFA, we cannot participate in anything that is against the principles and rules of the European Union and UEFA."

UEFA PRESIDENT ALEKSANDER CEFERIN

"UEFA and the football world stand united against disgraceful and self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours for a select few clubs in Europe motivated by greed. We are all united against this nonsense of a project."

"Football is not for sale and we are not for sale either - ever."

GLOBAL FOOTBALLERS' UNION FIFPRO

"Players continue to be used as assets and leverage in these negotiations. This is unacceptable for FIFPRO, our 64 national player associations and the 60,000 players we represent.

"We will vigorously oppose measures by either side that would impede the rights of players, such as exclusion from their national teams."

WORLD SOCCER'S GOVERNING BODY FIFA

"FIFA always stands for unity in world football and calls on all parties involved in heated discussions to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue for the good of the game and in the spirit of solidarity and fair play.

"We will, of course, do whatever is necessary to contribute to a harmonised way forward in the overall interests of football."

EUROPEAN SOCCER'S GOVERNING BODY UEFA IN A JOINT STATEMENT WITH SPANISH, ENGLISH AND ITALIAN LEAGUES AND FEDERATIONS

"UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, La Liga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations – will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.

"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening."

ENGLAND'S FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

"It is clear that this would be damaging to English and European football at all levels and will attack the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are fundamental to competitive sport."

ENGLAND'S PREMIER LEAGUE

"Fans of any club in England and across Europe can currently dream that their team may climb to the top and play against the best. We believe that the concept of a European Super League would destroy this dream."

JULIAN KNIGHT, CHAIRMAN OF THE DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT COMMITTEE OF BRITAIN'S HOUSE OF COMMONS

"Football needs a reset, but this is not the way to do it. The interests of community clubs must be put at the heart of any future plans."

GABRIELE GRAVINA, PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION (FIGC)

"We have been always against a Super League. The only viable project is the Champions League reform promoted by UEFA."

GERMAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (DFB)

"The German Football Association (DFB) is against the concept of a European Super League. It is the performance that determines promotion and relegation. Economic interests of a few clubs should not end the practiced solidarity in football."

SPAIN'S LA LIGA

"The newly proposed top European competition is nothing more than a selfish, egotistical proposal designed to further enrich the already super rich.

"It will undermine the appeal of the whole game and have a deeply damaging impact on the immediate and future of La Liga, its member clubs, and all the entire footballing ecosystem."

BORUSSIA DORTMUND CEO HANS JOACHIM WATZKE

"The board members of the European Club Association (ECA) came together for a virtual meeting on Sunday evening, where it was agreed that the board's decision from last Friday still stands.

"This decision dictates that all clubs wish to implement the proposed reforms to the UEFA Champions League. The ECA board members took a clear stance in rejecting plans for the establishment of a Super League."

ASTON VILLA CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHRISTIAN PURSLOW

"Does that sound like sport or football to you? To me it sounds a grotesque concept."

PARIS ST GERMAIN MIDFIELDER ANDER HERRERA

"I love football and I cannot remain silent about this. I believe in an improved Champions League, but not in the rich stealing what the people created, which is nothing other than the most beautiful sport on the planet."

FENERBAHCE AND FORMER ARSENAL AND REAL MADRID MIDFIELDER MESUT OZIL

"Kids grow up dreaming to win the World Cup and the Champions League - not any Super League.

"The enjoyment of big games is that they only happen once or twice a year, not every week."

($1 = 0.7219 pounds)

(Compiled by Hardik Vyas, Simon Evans, Peter Hall, Shrivathsa Sridhar and Rohith Nair; Editing by Pritha Sarkar/Peter Rutherford/Ken Ferris)