The 12 clubs that participate in the failed European Super League Paris St-Germain chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi said their plans were the stuff of “fabulists and failures”.
Premier League clubs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham withdrew within 72 hours of the Super League’s formation, along with six other clubs in April.
AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have also withdrawn, while Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have not given up their runaway competition.
“I won’t spend a lot of time talking about April 18th and the ‘not so Super League’ because I don’t like to focus on fabulists and failures,” said Al-Khelaifi when he made his first big speech as a newcomer Chief held the European Clubs’ Association (ECA) in Geneva.
All Premier League clubs were represented, with the exception of Chelsea, which accessed the proceedings via video link.
The nine clubs that withdrew from the Super League rejoined the ECA last month after leaving in April but Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus have not yet been reinstated.
Al-Khelaifi added: “Together we defended the interests of European football for all. We rely on the determination and strength of [Uefa] president [Aleksander Ceferin]that withstood the midnight coup. He said ‘we’re going to win’ and we did.
“While the three rebel clubs are wasting energy, twisting narratives and keep screaming at the sky, the rest of us move forward.”
Al-Khelaifi welcomed the return of the six Premier League clubs to the ECA. A Premier League representative is expected to return to the ECA Executive Committee on Tuesday.
Obviously, the passions surrounding the Super League concept remain high.
In his speech, UEFA President Ceferin could not resist an attack on former ECA chairman, Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli, as he welcomed the appointment of Al-Khelaifi.
“When you go through a storm you need a good captain, not like the one who used to get off the ship,” he said. “The ECA has a good captain. Your future is bright.”
Such warm words between the senior UEFA official and the man who runs PSG will make some feel uncomfortable.
For all the euphoria about the successful fight against the Super League, this summer’s transfer window indicated that fewer clubs are competing at the elite end of the game.
Premier League duo Arsenal and Manchester United both spent more than £ 130m on players. Manchester City broke the UK transfer record when they bought Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Chelsea nearly hit the £ 100m fee by spending £ 97.5m on Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku.
Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos led a quartet of free transfer comers at PSG that will earn massive wages, while the French club also turned down Real Madrid’s £ 100m offer for striker Kylian Mbappe despite being free to go next summer.
However, Khelaifi says he is desperate to bring “financial stability” to European football and new financial fair play regulations are being introduced to ensure a “stable, sustainable, inclusive and competitive football pyramid”.
Ceferin also said that financial fair play is “not about competitiveness”.
“Cost control systems and competitive compensatory measures are two different parts of the same body,” he added.
“Of course they are interrelated, but they have two different goals. We can and will work together on meaningful measures to eliminate a competitive imbalance if necessary.”