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'We Didn't Know We Had Snakes': UEFA President Minces No Words in Fiery Press Conference

Aleksander Ceferin (Photo Credit: Reuters)

Aleksander Ceferin (Photo Credit: Reuters)

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin reiterated that the clubs and players participating in the European Super League should be punished.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin slammed the creation of the breakaway European Super League and minced no words in criticising Manchester United’s Ed Woodward and Juventus president Andrea Agnelli. Ceferin called himself “naive" and said, “We didn’t know we had snakes working close to us." Twelve of Europe’s biggest clubs earlier in the day announced the proposed launch of the breakaway tournament. Six Premier League sides - Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham - have joined Spanish teams Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, as well as Italian trio Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan, as founding members of the Super League.

Ceferin was extremely critical of Woodward and Agnelli and called the latter a liar.

“If I start with Ed Woodward," said Ceferin during a press conference. “He called me last Thursday evening to say that he was very satisfied with the reforms and fully supportive. The only thing he want to talk about was Financial Fair Play. Obviously, he had already signed something else.

“Andrea Agnelli is the biggest disappointment of all. I have never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently as he did — it is unbelievable," he added.

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Ceferin reiterated that the players who play in the European Super League will not be allowed to participate in any FIFA and UEFA tournaments and domestic leagues. “The players that play in the Super League will be banned from playing in the World Cup and Euros. They will not be allowed play for their national teams. They will not be able to represent their national teams at any matches," added the 53-year-old. “UEFA and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful self-serving proposal we have seen in last 24 hours from a select few clubs in Europe that are fueled purely by greed above all else."

The UEFA president said the Champions League will go on with or without the clubs that participate in the Super League. “My opinion is that as soon as possible they (the clubs) have to be banned from all our competitions, and the players from all our competitions."

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first published:April 19, 2021, 21:21 IST