Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has been making plans for a major upheaval in European football – despite Super League proposals which collapsed dramatically earlier this year.
Six Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham – withdrew within 72 hours of the founding of the Super League alongside six other clubs in April.
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De Laurentiis plans to revolutionize the game
Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, however, have not given up on the breakaway competition.
Nonetheless, Napoli boss De Laurentiis is adamant that football needs to change.
And the 72-year-old Italian, big film producer, has now come up with his own idea for the European game which will be built on a fair basis that gives all clubs equal opportunities.
He insists the UEFA, Champions League and Europa League competitions have failed, and has drawn up proposals for a further £ 8.5bn. [€10bn] competition that must be accepted to work.
“The system no longer works”, said De Laurentiis, quoted by Italy football.
A large number of fans have protested against their clubs for their role in the failure of the European Super League
“The Champions and the Europa League do not generate enough income for the clubs to justify participating.
“To be competitive you need more top players. This means that you have to spend more money – and the prize money of European competitions does not take this into account.
“That’s why clubs need to talk to each other to deliver a more modern and lucrative tournament for everyone.”
He added: “We need to reduce the number of matches by reducing the size of the top divisions across Europe. In addition, we are creating a European league with a democratic entry system, based on what the teams achieve in their national competitions.
“I have looked at a project ready to bring 10 billion euros to the European game, but we need will and total independence.”
Arsenal fans weren’t afraid to make their voices heard as they protested against the failure of the European Super League last season
De Laurentiis bought Napoli in 2004 when the club were in financial ruin and playing in the third division, and quickly brought them back to Serie A.
He is a big fan of English football and even says that Italian football “must learn from it” … despite the victory of the Italians over the Three Lions in the final of Euro 2020.
And he has also admitted his fear that young people will turn away from football, and he wants to bond with other presidents to make the sport attractive again.
“If we don’t change the rules of the game and make it a better show, young people will abandon us and football will no longer be at the center of our lives,” he warned.
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Napoli renamed their stadium after Diego Maradona following the death of the great footballer in 2020. The Argentine maestro spent seven years at Napoli and helped the club win two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup.
“My research tells me that people between the ages of eight and 25 have stopped watching football and prefer to play with smartphones – they have totally transformed our children.
“I’m not saying that the habit of watching football live in a stadium is going to go away, but now we have the ‘virtual stadium’, which can attract billions of people to play against each other.
“Who knows if we’ll be able to get them back on the path to the world’s biggest and most influential sport?
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