Europe's top leagues and UEFA have vowed to do everything in their power to block a so-called European Super League and urged others to boycott what they describe as a "cynical project founded on the self-interest of a few clubs".

In an emphatic response to media reports, UEFA together with the English Football Association (the FA), Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), LaLiga, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Serie A have joined forces in attempt to quell the Super League.

They reiterated a pledge to ban teams from other competitions if they take part in the Super League, while FIFA's threat of barring players from the World Cup was also alluded to.

French and German clubs were also thanked for refusing to sign up to the tournament, meaning neither of last season's Champions League finalists – Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain – are set to be involved.

The statement read: "UEFA, the English Football Association and the Premier League, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and Lega Serie A have learned that a few English, Spanish and Italian clubs may be planning to announce their creation of a closed, so-called Super League.

"If this were to happen, we wish to reiterate that we – UEFA, the English FA, RFEF, FIGC, the Premier League, LaLiga, Lega Serie A, but also FIFA and all our member associations - will remain united in our efforts to stop this cynical project, a project that is founded on the self-interest of a few clubs at a time when society needs solidarity more than ever.

"We will consider all measures available to us, at all levels, both judicial and sporting in order to prevent this happening. Football is based on open competitions and sporting merit; it cannot be any other way.

"As previously announced by FIFA and the six federations, the clubs concerned will be banned from playing in any other competition at domestic, European or world level, and their players could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams.

"We thank those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up to this. We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced. This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough."

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge does not want to see UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) model scrapped and has called for tougher sanctions for clubs that break the rules.

FFP regulations, approved by UEFA in 2010 to prevent clubs that qualify for its competitions from spending beyond their means, appear set for significant changes due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The break-even requirement, which means clubs must balance their spending with their revenues and restricts the accumulation of debt, has been declared "purposeless" by UEFA in the context of the revenue crisis caused by COVID-19.

Changes to those specific regulations could well be on the horizon but, though Rummenigge sees the merit in such adjustments, he is firmly against talk of FFP being scrapped altogether.

He told The Athletic of the break-even rule: "Right now, you're allowed to lose €30million (£25.8m) over three years.

"You can't even buy a player for that kind of money, so it's worth looking into it if that can be sensibly adjusted."

However, on FFP as a whole, Rummenigge added: "Things were spiralling out of control, with many clubs losing money in the past.

"FFP has led to a more rational approach, by forcing clubs to budget sensibly and it has made football profitable as a result.

"We can't get to the point where only clubs owned by billionaires can compete."

Rummenigge and the Bayern hierarchy have long been vocal about their commitment to a self-sustainable business model, and he is keen to see FFP changed so that it features harsher penalties for clubs that do not live within their means and breach regulations.

"The current FFP doesn't quite get it right, because the punishments don't work," said Rummenigge. "They're not well defined enough, it's all a grey area.

"Clubs who violate the rules in the future must face much more severe sanctions. We need to really get it right this time. Smart people are looking at it."

Gianni Infantino says FIFA must be open to revolutionising the international calendar, after Arsene Wenger proposed radical changes.

Speaking on beIN SPORTS this week, former Arsenal manager Wenger claimed more focus had to be put on FIFA's flagship competitions, including the World Cup.

The Frenchman is currently serving as FIFA's chief of global football development.

Wenger put forward a plan to host major tournaments such as the World Cup and European Championship every two years, to give more players the opportunity to play at these events during their prime years.

Such changes would mean major alterations to the calendar, but Infantino insists FIFA will rule nothing out, and decisions could be taken within the next 12 months.

"We need to be open to everyone, to everything, to every proposal, every idea," said the FIFA president.

"Arsene Wenger is not only a successful and brilliant manager, he is a professor of football but besides that we have, of course, our bodies and we will debate and discuss the calendar, starting now, because we need to come to a decision in the next few months, the sooner the better, by the end of the year or in the course of next year, for everyone to be able to plan."

The international schedule is not the only item up for debate, with Infantino also interested in a possible merger of North America's leading leagues – Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX.

MLS commissioner Don Garber commented in December that a merger was "a long way away", while FIFA has previously ruled out leagues spread across regions or continents, rather than individual countries.

However, Infantino seemingly sees things differently, as he stressed the need for other areas of the globe to challenge the quality on show in Europe.

"I think the potential in the United States and Mexico is enormous, each country by itself," he said.

"But of course if you could bring those two together that would be incredible and that could quite well be the best league in the world.

"Any discussion about organising such a competition, of course respecting the rules of member associations and FIFA and with the agreement of all stakeholders, any discussion in that respect is interesting and we see that in a positive light.

"Of course if we want club teams to be at the highest level around the world and not just in Europe, we need to have new ideas.

"We see the potential in North America, the economic potential and the potential in footballing terms. I trust them to take the best decisions in that regard."

Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana has been suspended for 12 months by UEFA due to a doping violation, the Eredivisie club have confirmed.

Ajax and Onana will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) to overturn the ban, imposed after an out-of-competition test in October 2020 found the substance Furosemide in the player's urine.

The club said the test result was due to Onana, 24, mistakenly taking Lasimac – a drug prescribed to his wife – when he felt unwell.

UEFA therefore accepted Onana "had no intention of cheating", an Ajax statement read.

It added: "However, UEFA believes, on the basis of the applicable anti-doping rules, that an athlete has a duty at all times to ensure that no banned substances enter the body."

The suspension is effective from Friday and applies to "all football activities, both national and international".

Ajax managing director Edwin van der Sar said: "We explicitly renounce performance-enhancing drugs, we obviously stand for a clean sport.

"This is a terrible setback, for Andre himself but certainly also for us as a club. Andre is a top goalkeeper, who has proven his worth for Ajax for years and is very popular with the fans.

"We had hoped for a conditional suspension or for a suspension much shorter than these 12 months, because it was arguably not intended to strengthen his body and thus improve his performance."

Cameroon international Onana has been a key man for Ajax since his debut in 2016-17, playing his part in runs to the Europa League final and Champions League semi-finals.

His absence is the latest blow to Ajax, who earlier confirmed they would be unable to correct the administrative error that saw Sebastian Haller left out of their Europa League squad.

Haller, signed from West Ham for a club-record €22.5million last month, was not included in Ajax's initial list for European competition for the second half of the season.

Coach Erik ten Haag described the mistake as "an administrative error with major consequences" and "an incredible setback" for the player, although he confirmed Ajax would be addressing the matter with UEFA.

However, a further club statement has now confirmed UEFA sent "a final message" to say Haller could not be added to the group.

Haller has scored two goals in his first seven games for Ajax in all competitions.

UEFA is committed to its plan of hosting Euro 2020 across 12 host cities, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Euro 2020 was due to take place last year, with 12 nations having been selected to host matches in celebration of the competition's 60th anniversary.

However, the COVID-19 crisis resulted in UEFA taking the decision last March to push the tournament back to 2021.

Although Europe is still struggling to deal with the pandemic, with many nations under lockdown rules and travel severely restricted in a bid to limit the spread of the virus, UEFA has reaffirmed its intention for the competition to take place later this year.

In a statement released on Wednesday, UEFA also said it is retaining hope that the 12 venues will be able to accommodate some fans, despite club competitions continuing behind closed doors.

The statement read: "UEFA repeated its commitment to holding the Euro across the 12 cities according to the timetable that has already been published.

"All parties recognise the need for flexibility around decisions to be made on the arrangements for the tournament, in order to reflect the different challenges and circumstances that cities find themselves in. 

"As a result of that and the fast-changing nature of the situation around the pandemic, the deadline for the submission of plans to accommodate fans inside the stadiums has been moved to early April."

In limited numbers, spectators had been allowed into venues in certain European nations – including Germany, England and France – in 2020, though those schemes were ended as infection rates increased again.

"UEFA is committed to holding Euro 2020 in the 12 cities originally planned," UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said.

"The Euro is the flagship competition for national team football in Europe and is a vital source of funding for grassroots and wider football development. 

"I am optimistic that things are highly likely to be very different with regard to the virus as we move closer to the tournament and it is important that we give the host cities and governments as much time as we can to formulate an accurate picture of what will be possible come June and July. 

"Fans are such a big part of what makes football special and that is true of the Euro as much as it is of any game. We must allow ourselves the maximum space to allow their return to the stadiums."

London, Rome, Glasgow, Bilbao, Dublin, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Baku, Budapest, Bucharest, Saint Petersburg and Munich are the designated host cities for the finals.

Each city will host three group games, and one match in either the round of 16 or quarter-finals, with the semi-finals and final to be played at Wembley Stadium.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin could push for the delayed Euro 2020 finals to be staged in just one country, according to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Any such move would cause a drastic redrawing of plans for the tournament just months out from its start, with 12 cities across Europe preparing to stage games.

The logistical implications would be enormous, with the need to find suitable team bases a major issue, while finding agreement on which country might serve as sole host may not be straightforward.

UEFA took similar steps last season to ensure the Champions League and Europa League campaigns could finish without further delay, but a month-long European Championship is on a different scale to those club competitions.

Yet the COVID-19 crisis could mean there are obstacles to staging the event as originally planned, and that could trigger contingency measures.

Quoted by German publication TZ, Bayern Munich chief executive Rummenigge said: "You shouldn't forget that the idea of ​​this special hosting of the tournament came about when corona did not yet exist.

"At the time, it was an initiative of the EU Commission that wanted to have football shown all over Europe. But I know that the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin – who is incredibly careful with corona – is thinking about whether it wouldn't make more sense in times of corona to play the tournament in just one country."

UEFA's expansion of the tournament to a 24-team event, starting from Euro 2016, means it is now close in scale to a World Cup, and the opening match is due to take place on June 11, with Italy and Turkey set to play in Rome.

Shifting the quarter-final stages of last season's club competitions to Lisbon and Germany meant they were able to be completed, with barely two months between decisions being taken and the games going ahead.

This is due to be the first time UEFA has held a European Championship in such a spread of venues. Ceferin referred to the Euros in December as "a tournament bridging the entire continent".

UEFA also said in November it intended to proceed with the tournament in its original format, albeit accepting that could change depending on circumstances.

It has since said decisions on how many supporters, if any, will be able to attend games, are set to be taken in March.

The semi-finals and final are scheduled to be held at Wembley Stadium in London, with other games in Baku, Amsterdam, Rome, Bilbao, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Munich and Saint Petersburg.

FIFA has warned that any player competing in a European Super League would become ineligible to take part in World Cups, European Championships or the Champions League.

Amid speculation that the biggest clubs from the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are keen on forming a breakaway competition, football's world governing body has taken a strong stance against such ideas.

A joint statement from FIFA and the six continental federations read: "In light of recent media speculation about the creation of a closed European 'Super League' by some European clubs, FIFA and the six confederations (AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA) once again would like to reiterate and strongly emphasise that such a competition would not be recognised by either FIFA or the respective confederation.

"Any club or player involved in such a competition would as a consequence not be allowed to participate in any competition organised by FIFA or their respective confederation.

"As per the FIFA and confederation statutes, all competitions should be organised or recognised by the relevant body at their respective level, by FIFA at the global level and by the confederations at the continental level.

"In this respect, the confederations recognise the Club World Cup, in its current and new format, as the only worldwide club competition, while FIFA recognises the club competitions organised by the confederations as the only club continental competitions.

"The universal principles of sporting merit, solidarity, promotion and relegation, and subsidiarity are the foundation of the football pyramid that ensures football's global success and are, as such, enshrined in the FIFA and confederation statutes.

"Football has a long and successful history thanks to these principles. Participation in global and continental competitions should always be won on the pitch."

It was reported in October that FIFA were hoping to create a closed 18-team tournament that would be dubbed the 'European Premier League'.

However, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he was "not interested" in the idea and felt the existing Club World Cup had greater potential.

Prior to his resignation as Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu revealed at a news conference that he had accepted a proposal for the club to join the proposed European Super League.

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