Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admits he thought proposals for a European Super League were a ‘joke’ following the controversial announcement of plans on Sunday.
Europe’s elite clubs issued a joint-statement last weekend declaring their agreement to form a breakaway competition, each of the Premier League’s ‘big six’ joining leading sides from Italy and Spain to create a new tournament.
The proposals have since collapsed amid fierce backlash from supporters around the world, the plans having included guaranteed entry for 15 founder clubs with the footballing world having been outraged at attempts to remove sporting merit at the highest level of the game.
Everton were amongst a number of clubs to publicly condemn the proposals before several of the leading figures withdrew their interest, and Ancelotti has now revealed his reaction when first hearing the news of a potential breakaway.
“My immediate reaction was they are joking, this is a joke!” Ancelotti told a pre-match press conference ahead of Everton’s clash with Arsenal tomorrow.
“It’s a joke because it’s not going to happen. It’s impossible.
“Sport culture in Europe is different to American sports. Not because we are right and they are wrong, but because the culture of the people is different. In America, in the USA, sport is different. Sport is entertainment.
“In Europe, we live with more passion. When we grow up, we want to beat our neighbours. We grew up differently. It is not sport [in the USA]. Football now is part business. But we need to take into consideration both.
“Football is a sport first. And then with a lot of investment, it also becomes a business. We need to take into consideration both. This is absolutely normal.”
Everton’s statement against the plans labelled the concept as ‘preposterous arrogance’ from the Premier League’s ‘big six’ and Ancelotti admits his side have a ‘history’ of taking care of their supporters.
The Italian did, however, discuss potential reforms of the Champions League but insists any competition must place sporting merit at the forefront of any changes.
“Everton has a history of taking care of maybe more of its supporters,” he added.
“The most important part, they wanted to build up a competition without sporting merit.
“This is not acceptable. Our culture, we are born married to our sport. They were wrong, full stop.
“They are back now, they are going to open a discussion. Every one of us wants the Champions League more competitive. This is for sure. It is the best competition in the world.
“We must also talk about the Premier League, and other competitions too, like Serie A. But the most important thing was about the sporting merit.
“I think the European Super League as they proposed is impossible. But a new format of the Champions League is possible.”