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We 'cannot kill' domestic leagues – Pep Guardiola reveals European Super League fears

A document published by The Times outlines the huge sums on offer to founder clubs.

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has highlighted the importance of domestic league and cup competitions amid renewed reports of a breakaway European Super League (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has highlighted the importance of domestic league and cup competitions amid renewed reports of a breakaway European Super League (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has highlighted the importance of domestic league and cup competitions amid renewed reports of a breakaway European Super League (Clive Brunskill/PA)

Pep Guardiola says domestic leagues and cups cannot be lost after fresh reports surfaced over the formation of a European Super League.

A document seen by The Times says the 15 founder clubs in the 20-team breakaway competition, slated to start in 2022-23, would be offered £310million each just to join and then up to £213million per season thereafter.

The Premier League’s ‘big six’ – including Guardiola’s club Manchester City – are reported to be among the planned founder members, but the Catalan expressed fears about how any continental league might impact on domestic action.

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Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has spoken in favour of introducing Premier League B teams into the EFL (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has spoken in favour of introducing Premier League B teams into the EFL (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester City chief executive Ferran Soriano has spoken in favour of introducing Premier League B teams into the EFL (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I have the feeling we cannot lose the local leagues, what it means for the FA Cup, the leagues,” he said.

“What we should do is make every single league in Europe stronger than what it is, less teams, better championships, better League One, better League Two, better Premier League with less teams in every competition. Go to the quality over quantity.

“To make a super Premier League, you have to reduce the teams, but we cannot kill the lower divisions or the Premier League itself.”

Football’s world governing body FIFA and the six continental confederations have publicly rejected the breakaway competition, and the PA news agency understands the proposal’s stated intention that clubs would continue to play in their domestic league while playing in the Super League would not be allowed.

Real Madrid are understood to be leading the Super League project. One source told PA that Manchester United are one of the other ‘torchbearers’ of the project along with Italian giants AC Milan, but sources close to the Premier League club have rejected reports that they are one of the driving forces behind it.

It is understood Milan’s focus remains on their relationship with UEFA and giving clubs a bigger say in European competition.

The proposals are not understood to be being driven with any involvement from the European Club Association.

The reports come at a time when agreement on the format for the Champions League from 2024 onwards appears closer than ever.

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European Leagues, and its president Lars-Christer Olsson, says only the Champions League winners should qualify for the following season’s competition (Jamie Gardner/PA)

European Leagues, and its president Lars-Christer Olsson, says only the Champions League winners should qualify for the following season’s competition (Jamie Gardner/PA)

European Leagues, and its president Lars-Christer Olsson, says only the Champions League winners should qualify for the following season’s competition (Jamie Gardner/PA)

A UEFA proposal for a 32 or 36-team league, where each team plays 10 matches in a so-called Swiss system, is understood to be the favoured model, although it appears there remains some disagreement over how many clubs should qualify via Europe for the following season’s Champions League.

The European Leagues group, which is part of the discussions on format, has opposed the idea of the four semi-finalists qualifying for the next season, and has publicly stated it should continue to only be the winners who qualify that way.

It does appear to have accepted the idea of 10 European matches in the autumn though compared to the current six group stage games.

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