MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) — Seeking a weak link in the unity of 12 rebel clubs in the Super League, UEFA on Tuesday targeted owners in England who signed up to the project that threatens to tear apart soccer’s traditional structure including the Champions League.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin made a direct appeal to “owners of some English clubs” to change their minds out of respect for soccer fans.
Ceferin both cajoled and criticized the six-club group — including American billionaires, Abu Dhabi royalty and a Russian oligarch — less than 48 hours after the Super League was launched in alliance with three clubs from each of Italy and Spain.
“Gentlemen, you made a huge mistake,” Ceferin said in a speech to European soccer leaders at the UEFA annual meeting. “Some will say it is greed, others (will say) disdain arrogance, flippancy or complete ignorance of England’s football culture. It does not matter.
“What does matter is that there is still time to change your mind. Everyone makes mistakes,” said Ceferin, who did not specify which clubs he thought might be flipped.
The American owners of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool seem most committed to bringing a closed league structure to European soccer. The Glazer family, Stan Kroenke and Fenway Sports Group own major league franchises including, respectively, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Los Angeles Rams and Boston Red Sox.
The other owners are Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan at Manchester City, Roman Abramovich at Chelsea and English currency trader Joe Lewis at Tottenham.
Ceferin urged the six club ownerships to turn back out of respect for fans in England, aiming another barb at what he earlier called “a few selfish people.”
“Come to your senses,” he said. “Not out of love for…