Foreign ownership a ‘real danger’ to European football – Wenger
Arsene Wenger has urged English clubs to fight against a possible breakaway from the Champions League and says increased foreign ownership could become a “real danger” to the European game.
The president of La Liga is among those who has backed plans for a rival competition to the Champions League as European clubs grow increasingly concerned about the wealth of English teams.
Javier Tebas, who has been head of the Spanish league since 2013, told the Financial Times on Friday that a proposal from China’s richest man to launch a breakaway tournament has become more appealing after UEFA failed to address their concerns about broadcasting revenue at a meeting last week.
When asked about the comments, Wenger said it’s important that European football stays together.
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“You do not want to [become] like boxing where you have five federations and five different ways of acting, and you do not know anymore who is the real world champion,” Wenger said.
“It’s important that we stay unified and that we play football with the same rules. Especially if you look to the future, we might go for video [replays]. It’s quite complicated. It’s important that we keep the whole thing together.”
China’s influence over European football is growing larger as rich teams pay big transfer fees for players and the country’s top business men look to buy stakes in clubs. And Wenger said there are clear risks in having too many foreign owners buying up clubs and then looking to have them play in competitions that suit their own interests.
“It’s a real danger. Because if tomorrow we have 10 South American or 10 Chinese who own 10 of the 20 English clubs, they can say: ‘Let’s make a league and play some games on our continent,’” Wenger said. “It’s a danger. That’s why I personally will always fight that UEFA keeps control and that FIFA keeps control of the whole system.”