England’s leading clubs have declined to comment on leaked documents which appear to reveal plans for the launch of a European Super League within the next three years.
Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal were all named in the documents which were released by Football Leaks and published by German news magazine Der Spiegel.
The documents claim they are among 16 clubs who would leave their domestic competitions to play in the new league as early as 2021. Such a move would leave the future of the leading domestic leagues and major competitions such as the Champions League in question.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris St Germain and AC Milan are the other clubs listed, with five further clubs allegedly to be invited as ‘initial guests’.
City, United and Liverpool all declined to comment when contacted by Press Association Sport, while Chelsea did not immediately respond.
Press Association Sport understands Arsenal remain committed to the Premier League.
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge – who is also the chairman of the European Club Association – issued a statement rejecting the documents and stating his club is committed to playing in the Bundesliga.
“FC Bayern Munich stands by its membership of the Bundesliga and, as long as I am chairman of the board of FC Bayern, also by the club competitions organised jointly by UEFA and the ECA,” Rummenigge said.
The club statement read: “FC Bayern is also unaware of recent plans for a so-called Super League, also reported by ‘Der Spiegel’, nor has FC Bayern taken part in negotiations relating to such plans. FC Bayern is also unaware of why it is listed in a document quoted in this context by ‘Der Spiegel’.”
Der Spiegel reported the most recent document was sent to Real Madrid on October 22, with a plan to finalise arrangements later this month.
According to the published documents, the 11 founders of the league would be immune from the risk of relegation with guaranteed membership for 20 years.
The five clubs in line to be invited to join as guests were named as Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Marseille, Inter Milan and Roma.
The story appeared on Friday alongside other documents which claimed current FIFA president and then UEFA boss Gianni Infantino helped arrange more lenient punishments for Manchester City and Paris St Germain when they were found to have breached Financial Fair Play rules in 2014.
A Manchester City statement said: “We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.
“The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear.”
Paris St Germain published a lengthy statement on their website, in which they said: “Paris Saint-Germain has always acted in absolute compliance with the laws and regulations issued by sports institutions.
“The club has always complied strictly with the laws and regulations in force and strongly denies the allegations published today.”
UEFA said it could not comment on specific cases due to confidentiality obligations.
However, FIFA issued a lengthy statement in which it suggested there was an agenda to use illegally obtained information “to undermine the new leadership of FIFA and, in particular, the president, Gianni Infantino, and the secretary general, Fatma Samoura”.
Within the statement, Infantino said: “It is always a challenge to change things, to move forward, and to bring people together in order to do things better. And, as we are resolutely implementing the reforms at FIFA, it was always clear to me that I would face strong opposition, especially from those who cannot anymore shamelessly profit from the system they were part of.
“But this is why I was elected and for me there will be one focus and one focus only: to improve and develop football, worldwide. And today I am more committed and decided than ever to continue fulfilling this task.”