EPL

PFA chief executive Taylor to resign at end of season

By Sports Desk November 25, 2020

Gordon Taylor is set to resign as chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) at the end of the season.

The 75-year-old has held the post since 1981 and has now confirmed his plan to depart after a review into the PFA's finances was completed.

Taylor announced his intention to step down in March 2019 and will ultimately do so more than two years later when the 2020-21 campaign concludes.

"As I announced at our previous AGM, now that the Independent Review process has completed, I too will step down, by the end of the current season," Taylor wrote in a widely reported letter to members ahead of Thursday's AGM where members will vote on a new governance structure.

"A new chief executive will be elected following the recruitment procedure recommended by the Independent Review, and we have already made substantial progress in that direction. 

"I will of course be available in the future whenever needed to support the PFA."

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    Barcelona said it would have been an "historical error" not to sign up for the European Super League and the club remains convinced structural reform is needed to protect the financial future of football.

    The Blaugrana were announced on Sunday as one of 12 founding members of the highly controversial breakaway league, which received widespread criticism due to the closed-shop nature of the competition.

    Less than 48 hours, all six of the Premier League teams that had agreed to sign up all withdrew their participation following a fierce backlash from fans, players, supporters, the Football Association and the UK government.

    Atletico Madrid and Serie A rivals Milan and Inter later followed suit, seemingly leaving the league dead in the water before it even took off the ground.

    But Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli – leading figures in the Super League – both launched a staunch defence of a competition they remain convinced has to happen as clubs struggle to contend with the economic impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Newly re-elected Barca president Joan Laporta earlier said the lucrative Super League was "absolutely necessary" and a club statement struck a similarly pleading tone about their belief that change is a must.

    "FC Barcelona shares the view of most major European football clubs, and even more so given the current socio-economic climate, that there is a need for structural reforms to guarantee the financial sustainability and feasibility of world football by improving the product that is offered to fans around the world and by consolidating and even increasing the fan base on which this sport is sustained, which is its mainstay and greatest strength," the statement began.

    "In this context, the FC Barcelona Board of Directors accepted, as a matter of immediate urgency, the offer to form part, as the founding member, of the Super League, a competition designed to improve the quality and attractiveness of the product offered to the football fans and, at the same time, and as one of FC Barcelona's most inalienable principles, seek new formulas for solidarity with the football family as a whole.

    "The decision was made in the conviction that it would have been a historical error to turn down the opportunity to be part of this project as one of its founding members. As one of the world's top sports club, our intention shall always be to be at the forefront, this being an indispensable part of the club's identity and its sporting, social and institutional spirit."

    Despite the project seemingly being left in tatters, Perez insisted the project the Super League is "not dead" in an interview with Spanish radio station El Larguero.

    Barca said more analysis is clearly needed but said such examination must take place in the absence of "unjustified pressure and intimidation".

    The statement added: "Given the public reaction that the aforementioned project has generated in many and various spheres, there is no question that FC Barcelona appreciates that a much more in-depth analysis is required into the reasons that have caused this reaction in order to reconsider, if necessary, and to the required extent, the proposal as originally formulated and resolve all those issues, always for the good of the general interest of the football world. Such in-depth analysis needs time and the necessary composure to avoid taking any rash action.

    "We feel it is equally important to highlight the objective fact that a Court of Justice has already granted urgent legal protection as requested, thus confirming right of the initiative on the part of the founding clubs of the Super League project.

    "In this regard, FC Barcelona considers that it would be improper for the necessary process of reflection and debate to be established under criteria of unjustified pressure and intimidation.

    "Despite being perfectly aware of the importance and interest raised by this matter, as well as the need to always act with the utmost transparency, FC Barcelona shall act at all times with due prudence and asks for the utmost understanding, respect and most of all patience among FC Barcelona supporters and public opinion in general."

  • European Super League: No punishments as LaLiga says clubs 'have been sanctioned by their fans' European Super League: No punishments as LaLiga says clubs 'have been sanctioned by their fans'

    President Javier Tebas insists LaLiga will not punish Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for launching the European Super League, as "these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans".

    Spain's three biggest clubs said on Sunday they would be involved in a controversial breakaway competition that looked set to rival the Champions League.

    But those plans fell through within just two days as pressure applied to England's 'big six' prompted them to back out, soon followed by Atleti.

    Real Madrid president Florentino Perez remains committed to the project, even if there is no clear route forward, while Barca's Joan Laporta still claims it is "absolutely necessary".

    UEFA had threatened to banish clubs and players who signed up to the Super League, which was criticised for its closed nature. Talk of punishment has since dissipated, however.

    At domestic level, calls for the six Premier League clubs to be deducted points have so far brought no result.

    And Tebas, who declared the Super League "dead", has now confirmed LaLiga will not sanction Madrid, Barca or Atleti, suggesting each was already embarrassed by the response to their grand plans.

    "We are not talking about sanctions," Tebas told the media on Thursday. "Everyone wants to cut people's heads off. We have to have a procedure and we have to see how it looks in the end. We have to see how it all works out.

    "I'm talking about other types of agreements. We shouldn't rush into anything. I think a very important thing is that these clubs have been sanctioned by their own fans. Their reputations have been affected."

    That did not prevent Tebas from criticising the clubs, though, adding his voice to those questioning comments from Perez.

    The Madrid chief claimed the proposals would help the rest of the football world, but Tebas feels secretive meetings suggest otherwise.

    "They can't tell us they're coming to save us from ruin," Tebas said. "It's not true. Nor that they do not harm national competitions. They do, economically and sportingly. If it was that good for football, they wouldn't have done it behind our backs."

    Tebas was speaking as LaLiga released a statement confirming the clubs that were not invited to join the Super League had followed their Premier League counterparts in voting "unanimously and vigorously" against the competition.

    "The opposition shown globally in recent days has shown that a closed and elitist European league is unworkable and unwanted," it read.

  • European Super League: Ceferin launches stinging rebuttal to Perez - he is the president of nothing European Super League: Ceferin launches stinging rebuttal to Perez - he is the president of nothing

    Aleksander Ceferin says Florentino Perez is "the president of nothing" and believes the controversial European Super League was "an attempt to create a phantom league of the rich".

    On Sunday, Real Madrid president Perez was named as chairman of the hugely divisive competition, with Los Blancos named among 12 founding members planning to play in a breakaway league.

    However, just two days later, Premier League clubs Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham all pulled out amid a huge backlash from the Football Association, the UK government, fans, pundits and players.

    Despite the competition crumbling before it got off the ground, Perez launched another staunch defence when speaking to Cadena SER's El Larguero radio show late on Wednesday, having earlier this week stated the Super League was vital for the future of clubs struggling financially in the COVID-19 pandemic.

    UEFA chief Ceferin believes Perez and other presidents should not be solely blaming the coronavirus crisis for huge losses, making pointed remarks in an interview with Slovenian broadcaster Pop TV.

    "I might want to say something else that Perez said earlier – clubs have losses, but also because they are poorly run," Ceferin said.

    "If you overpay players, unsuitable players, and therefore do not achieve a result, it means a loss to you. 

    "For example, Bayern Munich have no losses and have won the Champions League. You cannot just blame COVID-19, which many do.

    "Perez is the president of a Super League that didn't exist. At the moment he's the president of nothing.

    "Perez would like a [UEFA] president that will listen to him and a president that will do as he tells him. But I am trying to work in European and world soccer's best interests.

    "I'm actually horrified that by being enormously rich, profit means so much more than values. You can tell lies; you can enter players and the coaches into a new competition without them knowing anything about it."

    Perez insists the idea of the Super League is not dead in the water, but Ceferin remains convinced it was little more than a power play to try to protect the interests of football's richest clubs.

    "In my opinion, the Super League never existed," Ceferin added.

    "It was an attempt to create a phantom league of the rich that wouldn't follow any system, that wouldn't take into account the pyramid structure of football in Europe, its culture, tradition or history."

    Perez bizarrely cited a lack of interest from the younger generation among reasons for wanting to form the league, even suggesting matches could be shortened from the current time of 90 minutes.

    But Ceferin again disputed the point, adding: "Young people are very interested in a football match, it's completely clear to me.

    "The fact is that football is a sport, it's a passion, a school of life, you can learn a lot from football. I learned a lot from football myself.

    "You can't look at football as a product, you can't look at the players as customers or consumers, you can't look at how many you have in your account or how many new followers you have on Twitter instead of the result after the game. This has become common with certain big club owners and they have simply lost touch with reality and reality was clearly shown in the UK 24 hours or so ago."

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