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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 11:42 GMT
G14 clubs deny breakaway reports
Champions League trophy
G14 members include Arsenal, Liverpool and Man Utd
Europe's top clubs have denied reports that they are planning to take control of the Champions League.

A draft report leaked to the Guardian suggested G14 wants to ensure its 18 members can participate in Europe's elite club competition every year.

But G14 general manager Thomas Kurth said: "Breaking away from the Champions League does not make sense.

"Any attempt to ring fence the competition would be wrong and G14 would not support any such move."

G14's members include Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.

The group was formed in 2000 and comprised 14 of Europe's richest clubs, with four more joining two years later.

The leaked document was alleged to have symbolised a desire for more influence, but Kurth said the Guardian's report was partly factually inaccurate.

We want to see the rights of all clubs, not just G14 clubs, actively recognized
Thomas Kurth of G14

"The leaked document does not ask for G14 clubs to have guaranteed places in the Champions League," said Kurth.

"Any attempt to ring fence the competition by removing promotion and relegation or making entry dependent on anything other than transparent, sporting criteria would be wrong ."

But Uefa reacted angrily to some of the suggestions in the leaked document.

Uefa spokesman William Gaillard told the Guardian: "It would turn football into professional wrestling where everything is predictable."

A G14 spokesman said the document was merely a draft based on discussions ahead of the 10-point plan it released on Thursday.

Those 10 objectives, published on G14's website, will be presented to an inquiry sponsored by Uefa and the European Union.

"We want to see the rights of all clubs, not just G14 clubs, actively recognized within the governance and management structure of the game," added Kurth.

"At the moment they are not. Decisions are in circles from which the clubs are locked out. The governance of the game needs to be modernised."

Under its proposals, G14 is seeking a direct vote for clubs in Uefa and for clubs to be included when agreeing the international calendar.

G14 MEMBERS
Ajax
Arsenal
Barcelona
Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund
Inter Milan
Juventus
Liverpool
Lyon
Manchester United
Marseille
AC Milan
Paris St Germain
Porto
PSV Eindhoven
Real Madrid
Valencia

Ultimately, G14 wants professional clubs to have executive representation within Uefa on committees and other decision-making bodies in it that have a say in the running of club football in Europe.

The inquiry into how the game is run across the 25-member states was set up in December, with its final report expected by the end of May.

As well as seeking consultation on the international diary, G14 is seeking what they describe as "adequate compensation" for the release of players to their national sides.

This debate will be put to the legal test for the first time on Monday when Belgian club, Charleroi, backed by G14, take Fifa to court seeking compensation for the club after one of their players was injured on international duty.

G14 has also joined French champions Lyon in a similar action.


SEE ALSO
G14 joins Lyon over Fifa action
07 Dec 05 |  Football
G14 starts legal fight with Fifa
06 Sep 05 |  African
Uefa hints at Champions League changes
21 Jun 05 |  World Football


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