/ Soccer

G14 looks set to expand

Updated: Thursday, 14 Jun 2007 15:54

David Dein has been replaced as president of the G14 group
David Dein has been replaced as president of the G14 group

The G14 group of elite European clubs is set for major expansion after Lyon chief Jean-Michel Aulas was elected as its president.

The organisation was launched with 14 members in 2000, took on four new clubs in 2002, and will now consider inviting a further 16 teams to come on board.

G14 exists to provide Europe's most powerful clubs with an official voice at the highest level of the game, and it is understood the majority of clubs who would be asked to join would come from outside the traditional strongholds.

While clubs from England, Spain, Italy and Germany could benefit, G14 chiefs are determined to broaden the range of clubs in the organisation, which could see the likes of Celtic and Rangers push for inclusion, together with Russian, Turkish, Greek and Scandinavian outfits.

Aulas, who believes the organisation is capable of having a greater influence than it presently does, said in Glasgow this evening: 'We looked at the principle of expanding the G14 and I was only prepared to become the new president if everyone was in agreement.

'The principle was accepted unanimously and it will be discussed by a management committee in the coming weeks and months. We looked at the G14 and want it to expand geographically and be strengthened by other clubs.

'We want to ensure wider responsibility and carry on discussions with the four main bodies, in no particular order, FIFA, UEFA, FIFPro and the European Commission.

'We will work on a whole range of proposals to be able to strengthen areas and protect clubs' interests. We are big clubs and we are just like any other economic activity. We need to battle for our members.

'We need to be a body that is more proactive and makes more proposals.'

Aulas takes over from David Dein as president. Dein left his role as vice-chairman of Arsenal with immediate effect on April 18, due to "irreconcilable differences" with the rest of the board.

Without a position of power at one of the clubs in the G14 group, Dein was forced to relinquish his role and Aulas was an early favourite to take his place.

At their general assembly meeting in Scotland's biggest city today, it was confirmed that Aulas would take up the role.

Like Arsenal, Lyon were admitted to G14 in 2002, when the original 14 clubs allowed four more to join their ranks.

Dein was just six months into a two-year stint as president of G14.

In his place comes a man who has established Lyon as a force in European football.

He took charge of the French club in 1987 with the goal of taking them into Europe, and under Paul Le Guen and current boss Gerard Houllier, Lyon have made a significant impact in UEFA competitions.

Having never previously been French champions, they have won the last six Ligue 1 titles to establish themselves as the leading team in the country.

Aulas is a businessman, and president of the business software publisher Cegid.

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