Amsterdam football club Ajax has issued a statement saying it is ‘taken aback and disappointed’ by the decision by 12 European clubs to form a breakaway Super League.
Ajax had been mentioned as a possible partner in the project, which so far involves six English, three Spanish and three Italian clubs.
“Ajax is completely taken aback and disappointed by the announcement of a possible Super League. We support the new set-up proposed by UEFA, as confirmed on Monday.’’
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 19, 2021
‘We thought we had found the solution with the so-called Swiss model, with more international fixtures for more clubs,’ Ajax chairman Edwin van der Sar, who had been closely involved in those talks, said.
‘We are very disappointed in the sudden and late turnaround that fellow directors of some top international clubs have made this weekend, with the result that a very uncertain period threatens the horizon of European football.’
European football body Uefa, football associations including the KNVB, supporters organisations and even prime ministers have criticised the Super League plans.
Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin has made his anger at the breakaway clear, describing it as a ‘disgraceful and self-serving proposal from clubs motivated by greed.’
One option on the table is to ban players from taking part in international competition, a move which would see captain Virgil van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong and Mathijs de Ligt out of the Dutch team. However Ceferin has admitted this is unlikely to happen before the 2020 European championships kick off.
Stab in the back
Former Ajax and Dutch FA chairman Michael van Praag has described the move as a ‘stab in the back‘ given the announcement was made to coincide with the publication of Uefa’s own plans.
He was particularly critical of Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, whom he described as a ‘common liar’ for telling Ceferin on Friday that he supported Uefa’s own reforms.
Lawyer and competition law expert Ruben Elkerbout told RTL he is sceptical about the Super League plan.
‘It is controversial and has many similarities with cartel forming, given it is a closed competition,’ he said. ‘They have a big pot of money and they want to divide it up between them. It does not have much to do with sport.’
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