Manchester United chief executive David Gill has rejected suggestions Europe’s top clubs want to break away from Uefa and form their own league.
He told Radio Five Live’s Sportsweek:
“I can categorically deny Manchester United or any other club in Europe has any interest in forming our own league. We are very comfortable with Uefa running the Champions League. It is the best competition in the world.”
Gill said clubs would welcome a return to 17 European games rather than 13. That change came in three years ago when a second group stage was abandoned in favour of quarter-finals. United are part of the 18 European clubs that make up the G14 group, which also includes Arsenal and Liverpool.
Gill added: “We are looking at how we can return from 13 to 17 match days. We weren’t happy when it was reduced three years ago and we would like it to go back up to that level. The problem of the international calendar has never been solved and we want to look at it and have a dialogue. Uefa are a key body in European football and they put on a fantastic event. You need someone to organise a competition and the clubs don’t want to do that. Our skills are putting on a good show at our grounds, buying and selling players and commercialising our income. We have no interest in running the competition.”
Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry said to the Sun:
“It has never been on the agenda or been discussed. I just think it is an attempt to muddy the waters and try and detract away from the real issues.“
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho complained last week that the Blues would need to get into the group to have an increased influence within the European game.
But Gill said: “Admission is not on the agenda at the moment and, when it is, I am sure they will be a big candidate.”
The Champions League is the most watched football competition, save the World Cup, in the world- especially in Asia, where Man Utd players like Ji-Sung Park are hero-worshipped in his native South Korea.