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Premier League clubs deny plotting European breakaway

Updated: Wednesday, 02 Mar 2016 12:57 | Comments

An Arsenal spokesman has said: 'We are strongly opposed to any breakaway.'
An Arsenal spokesman has said: 'We are strongly opposed to any breakaway.'

Officials from leading Barclays Premier League clubs did not discuss the possibility of a breakaway European Super League in London on Tuesday.

Reports have emerged that officials from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United held a meeting with American billionaire Stephen Ross - the owner of Miami Dolphins NFL team.

Ross' organisation is behind the International Champions Cup series, which sees a number of Barclays Premier League clubs take on other leading sides from across Europe in showpiece matches, often held as pre-season tournaments around the globe.

Photographs of club officials leaving a meeting at the Dorchester Hotel together prompted speculation that another attempt could be made to form a continental league competition but an Arsenal spokesman, while confirming a meeting took place, said: "We are strongly opposed to any breakaway.

"Not Arsenal, nor any clubs at the meeting, are seeking changes to the Premier League and European landscape and no conversations surrounding displacing the Premier League or starting a European Super League took place.

"Discussions were primarily around the ICC and formats of European competitions that would compliment the existing Premier League."

"At the moment, there are no concrete proposals on the table." - UEFA

UEFA confirmed it has no concrete proposals on the table to change the format of its European competitions, but is constantly reviewing the situation.

A lucrative new broadcasting deal is set to kick in from the start of the 2016/2017 Premier League season, which will dwarf the current financial rewards on offer for a successful European campaign.

UEFA confirmed they were aware of the latest reports, but had no specific comment to make on the claims.

A spokesman said: "We are constantly reviewing the formats of our competitions in consultations with stakeholders and also with the ECA [European Club Association].

"At the moment, there are no concrete proposals on the table. We have just gone into a new three-year cycle for Champions League and Europa League, so we cannot offer any further comment at this stage."

The Premier League said they had no comment to make when contacted on Wednesday.

Liverpool attended the meeting after an invitation from a long-standing associate whose tournament they played in two years ago and are likely to do so again this summer during their pre-season tour of the west coast of the United States.

It's understood the club remain strong supporters of the existing structure of European football.

It is understood Tuesday's meeting was with Ross' company, Relevent Sports, rather than the American billionaire himself.

Involvement in the forthcoming International Champions Cup was mentioned and changes to the Champions League format were discussed.

However, any impetus for a breakaway European Super League is believed to come from mainland Europe due to the current strength of the Premier League,

For example, Manchester United - one of the clubs at the meeting - are understood to be comfortable with the existing landscape and fixture schedule, so much so that domestically the club even supports retaining FA Cup replays.

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