UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has branded Manchester United chief Ed Woodward a “snake” over his European Super League plans.
Twelve clubs, including United, made the bombshell announcement on Sunday that they intend to break away and form their own competition. Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea Tottenham and Arsenal have also signed up. Indeed, the big three in Spain and Italy make up the 12 “founding” members.
Widespread condemnation followed initial reports of the news, before the announcement late on Sunday night.
UEFA insisted in a joint statement with the FA and the Premier League that they would look to ban teams from their domestic competitions.
What’s more, they would prevent players from featuring for their country if the plans went ahead.
Ceferin, who is at the heart of UEFA’s rally against the move, voiced his disgust at a press conference on Monday.
He said: “UEFA and the footballing world stand united against the disgraceful self-serving proposal we have seen in the last 24 hours from a select few clubs in Europe that are fuelled purely by greed.
“The players who will play in the teams that might be playing in the closed league will be banned from playing the World Cup, and so they will not be able to represent the national teams at any matches.
“In my opinion, this idea is a spit in the face of all football lovers, and our society as well.
“So we will not allow them to take it away from us.”
The Super League announcement came on the eve of UEFA’s plans to announce its reform for the Champions League from 2024.
As such, Ceferin also slammed slammed United executive vice-chairman Woodward and Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli for going behind his back with their own agenda.
Ceferin slams Woodward, Agnelli
“I didn’t have much contact with [Woodward] but he called me last Thursday in the evening saying that he’s very satisfied with the reforms, that he fully supports the reforms, and that the only thing he would like to speak about is about financial fair play,” he said.
“And obviously he already signed something else.”
On Juve chairman Agnelli, Ceferin said (via Twitter): “He’s probably one of the biggest disappointments, or the biggest disappointment of all.
“I don’t want to be too personal. But the fact is that I’ve never seen a person that would lie so many times, so persistently that he did was unbelievable.
“I spoke with him also on Saturday afternoon. He said, ‘These are all only rumours. Don’t worry, nothing is going on’. And then he said, ‘I’ll call you in one hour’. And he turned off the phone.
“We didn’t know we had snakes so close to us, now we know.”
Former United defenders Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand have both voiced their strong opposition to the plans.
What’s more, Jamie Carragher said that he feels “sickened” at Liverpool’s approval of the move.