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Super League rebel trio have ‘lost moral and sporting battle’ – UEFA chief

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin ruled out abandoning disciplinary action against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus, telling AFP in an interview on Friday that the Super league trio have “lost the moral and sporting battle”.

European football’s governing body on Wednesday suspended legal action “until further notice” against the three teams who have refused to give up on the breakaway European Super League.

“The process will resume for sure,” Ceferin told AFP in an interview before Euro 2020 kicks off in Rome later on Friday.

“There’s an independent disciplinary committee and the lawyers have advised them.

“We should leave it to the lawyers to finish it.

“For me, the most important thing is that those three clubs lost the moral and sporting battle a long time ago, now it came to the legal battle.”

On Monday, UEFA was notified of an injunction by a court in Madrid, which had banned the European body and FIFA from cracking down on the three teams until the conflict had been settled.

“Obviously, the advice of the legal team was to first to deal with those court cases and then resume the disciplinary,” continued Ceferin, a 53-year-old lawyer.

“And then I want to say that justice sometimes is a bit late but it comes always in life and it will come in this case.”

Nine of the 12 original clubs — English sides Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, Italian giants AC Milan and Inter, and Atletico Madrid in Spain — backed out of the project as it quickly unravelled amid a public backlash.

Those nine clubs struck a deal with UEFA last month.

Slovenian Ceferin believes that the case involving the remaining three clubs will not drag on indefinitely.

“I don’t think so, but let’s see. It’s hard for me to judge but my feeling is it will be solved very soon.”

As for a possible agreement with the last three, as with the other nine clubs, Ceferin refused to be drawn.

“I really don’t want to discuss this at this moment,” he said.

“The moment they started this legal thing I think it’s correct to leave to the legal to finish and then we see.

“For now they show they don’t want to speak, they want to go to court and fight with the football world.”

‘Luxury tax’

Ceferin also spoke of his plan to reform the Financial Fair Play regulations, introduced in 2010 to prohibit clubs from spending more than they earn.

“I think we have to do it this year. We will start working seriously on it in September because now we have the Euros,” he explained.

“We have to adapt to different times, we have modernise, we have to bring new tools to help competitive balance because the gap between the big and the small clubs is bigger and bigger all the time.

“I don’t think we can completely stop this gap or even bring it closer but we can at least slow it down a bit.”

Among the ideas he put forward was a “luxury tax” aimed at forcing clubs spending beyond a certain limit to pay “a certain amount of money to other clubs that respect financial fair play”.

“We have it in the Champions League, but we have to speak to the leagues. All the ecosystems have to work together to find a solution.”

This comes as European clubs are forecast to suffer a drop of 8.7 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in revenue as they struggle to cope with the devastating financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a UEFA report estimated in May.

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