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Saturday, January 22, 2022

PSG president Al-Khelaifi replaces Juventus’ Agnelli as ECA chairman


Al Khelaifi’s was praised earlier this week for his firm stance against the controversial Super League.

Paris Saint-Germain [PSG]’s owner and CEO Nasser Al Khelaifi has been appointed as the new Chairman of the European Club Association [ECA], the organisation announced on Wednesday.

Al-Khelaifi will be replacing Andrea Agnelli, who quit his position on Sunday following controversy over the European Super League.

“I am honoured and humbled to have been appointed by my fellow ECA Executive Board Members as Chairman. The leadership, integrity and togetherness of our organisation has never been more required than at this pivotal moment in European football,” Al-Khelaifi said in a statement, addressing his new position.

“I, alongside all my fellow ECA Board Members and Clubs, am looking to reinforce ECA in its role as the legitimate and singular voice of Europe’s clubs. Our game, adored by generations of supporters, will only prosper under unity, and it is our duty as the custodians of football to fulfil this obligation,” he added.

The news was received by many as a great step for UEFA’s future given Nasser’s leadership talents and his firm dedication to support quality football for all.
“I would like to congratulate ECA for choosing Nasser as their new chairman,” UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin said. 
Football needs good people in senior roles and Nasser is someone who has shown he is capable of looking after the interests of more clubs than just his own – which should be a prerequisite for the position of ECA chair. I look forward to working with him to shape the future of club football at a European level. He is a man I can trust.”

The latest developments are welcome news Qatar ahead of the 2022 World Cup, Global Sports Correspondent Rob Harris pointed out in a tweet. 
“PSG opted out of the Super League and now their chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi is running the European Club Association. A boon for Qatar too ahead of the 2022 World Cup and all the issues around the Euro season being paused. Plus he runs beIN Sports,” the tweet read.

Just hours prior to the announcement, Al-Khelaifi was re-elected to the UEFA Executive Committee as its European Club Association (ECA) representative until 2024.

In the past few days, the prominent Qatari figure has been praised by various giant-sports names and enthusiasts for his firm decision not to join the 12 clubs in the controversial “Super League” project.

Sources told the Guardian that Al Khelaifi was “pushed and pushed and pushed” to join the Super League as a founder member but strictly refused – a decision that saved him and his club from harsh consequences and bad press.

Commenting on the situation, Al-Khelaifi said PSG believes that football is for everyone.

“As a football club, we are a family and a community; whose fabric is our fans – I believe we shouldn’t forget this,” he said in a statement.

“There is a clear need to advance the existing UEFA competition model, presented by UEFA yesterday and concluding 24 months’ of extensive and collaborative consultation across the whole European football landscape,” he added.

Nasser also said any proposal without the support of the Union of European Football Associations does not resolve issues facing football today. Working against that means engaging in self-interest against the community, he added.

After his decision not to involve his team in the newly formed league of 12 clubs, the President of the European organisation, Aleksander Ceferin addressed the Qatari national during a speech at the UEFA congress on Tuesday.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Nasser (Al-Khelaïfi, president of PSG). You have shown that you are a great man and that you respect football and its values. The same goes for Jean- Michel Aulas (OL), who is here today. Thank you for coming. You are leaders that the supporters of your clubs are lucky to have.

What’s happening?

Earlier this week, 12 “elite” clubs announced plans to establish a European Super League that offers permanent spots to some of the world’s biggest clubs to play matches midweek.
The controversial plan posed a threat to the landscape of European football.
In an effort to justify the latest scheme, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who was also chairman of the Super League, said that financial losses from the Covid-19 pandemic are among part of the reasons why he chose to team up with other top clubs to break away.
“The important clubs of Spain, England and Italy have to find a solution to this very bad situation that football is in,” Perez said. “We came to a conclusion that by creating a Super League, instead of playing Champions League midweek, we can alleviate lost revenue.”
However, the Super League announcement took a steep turn after UEFA and FIFA put their foot down in an attempt to save the established football order.
Both organisations warned that the 12 clubs and their players would face harsh repercussions, including a potential ban them from future competitions.
Danish FA chairman and UEFA Exco member Jesper Møller, told DR Sport that semifinalists involved in the Super League, including Real Madrid, Chelsea and Man City, will be expelled from this season’s competition by Friday, along with the remaining breakaway participants.

“[Real Madrid, Manchester City and Chelsea] are going out, and I expect that to happen on Friday,” Møller said. “And then you have to see how to finish the Champions League.

Read also: Full stadiums expected at Qatar 2022: FIFA chief

Meanwhile, sources told SBS Sports insider Fabrizio Romano that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin wants to issue a ban at some point this week after meeting with his legal team.

President of FIFA Gianni Infantino also said he and his organisation “strongly disapproves” of the new Super League project and gave a strict warning to clubs involved in the breakaway plot that they cannot be “half in, half out.”

Six Premier League teams, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid have now pulled out of the Super League.

On Wednesday, Juventus’ Agnelli, one of the chief architects of the controversial project, said it is now unlikely to proceed.

“To be frank and honest no, evidently that is not the case,” Agnelli said on whether the Super League could still kick off.

“I remain convinced of the beauty of that project, of the value that it would have developed to the pyramid, of the creation of the best competition in the world, but evidently no. I don’t think that project is now still up and running.”

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