Arteta says fans come first as Arsenal reject Super League

AFP , Friday 22 Dec 2023

Mikel Arteta said it is vital to look after fans as Premier League leaders Arsenal confirmed on Friday they will not be involved in a revised European Super League proposal.

Arteta
Arsenal's manager Mikel Arteta gestures during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Brighton and Hove Albion at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023. Photo: AP

 

The Gunners were among a group of 12 clubs, including six from the Premier League, who signed up to a breakaway league in 2021, though the project quickly collapsed.

On Thursday the European Court of Justice ruled that UEFA had broken EU law by abusing its "dominant position" in European football to stifle the upstart league.

The firm promoting the Super League seized on the court victory to announce plans for a new 64-team tournament to compete with or replace UEFA's flagship Champions League.

Arsenal issued a statement on Friday saying their "relation to the European Super League has not changed", becoming the latest Premier League club to distance themselves from the possibility of joining any new Super League.

"We will continue to play in UEFA competitions and continue to work with fellow European clubs and the European Club Association (ECA)," it said.

Arteta, whose team face Liverpool in a Premier League summit meeting on Saturday, reiterated the club's position at his pre-match press conference shortly afterwards.

"Football supporters and the passion they bring to the game is the main reason why this game belongs to them and to the players because they are the absolute protagonists and what makes this game so enjoyable," he said.

"And we have to look after them and their opinion is very, very important."

Only two clubs, Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, are still publicly attached to the Super League project.

Arteta said he was unsure whether it would have a future.

"Everybody would have their own opinion, and commitment now, in a year's time, in three years' time. Who knows how it's going to end up?"

The Spaniard, who has been in charge of Arsenal for four years, said the Premier League was a "beautiful" competition.

"We are so privileged to have the league that we have, to have the competition that we have, to have the uncertainty that we have every single game," he said.

"That's what drives this league and a lot of football supporters to watch it every time because it's beautiful."

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