Helsinki - UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin vowed on
Wednesday to fight any "blackmail" by Europe's most powerful football
clubs over the Champions League.
Ceferin took a tough line against Europe's top leagues,
angry at having been excluded, in their opinion, from talks on the future of
the world's biggest club tournament.
"To some clubs, I shall say it calmly and
dispassionately, but firmly and resolutely: there will be no closed
league," Ceferin told a UEFA congress in Helsinki.
"Quite simply, that is not in line with our values and
"To some leagues, I shall say it calmly and
dispassionately, but firmly and resolutely: we will never give in to the
blackmail of those who think they can manipulate small leagues or impose their
will on the associations because they think they are all-powerful on account of
the astronomical revenues they generate.
"Quite simply, money does not rule and the football
pyramid must be and will be respected," said the Slovenian, who has been
president for less than a year.
"We will work together for the good of domestic
football, to find practical solutions to your problems and to rectify the
imbalances as much as possible - problems and imbalances for which you are
also partly responsible."
The European Clubs Association announced last week that it
had agreed changes to European competitions with UEFA and ended calls for a
Super League reserved for the wealthiest clubs.
But a deal between the European Professional Football
Leagues and UEFA to avoid clashes between Champions League or Europa League
matches and domestic league fixtures ended on March 15. In theory, the 25 EPFL
championships can now organise games at the same time as UEFA competitions.
The EPFL is to hold a special congress in Geneva on June 6
to discuss the tensions with UEFA.