Napoli president working on plan for new £8.5billion European division – but clubs will qualify based on merit unlike doomed European Super League proposals

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has drawn up plans for a major shake up of European football – despite the Super League proposals spectacularly falling flat earlier this year.

Six Premier League clubs – Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Man City and Tottenham – withdrew within 72 hours of founding the Super League alongside six other clubs in April.

De Laurentiis is planning to revolutionise the game
Getty Images – Getty

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus, however, have not renounced the breakaway competition.

Nevertheless, Napoli chief De Laurentiis is adamant that football needs to change.

And the 72-year-old Italian, a major film producer, has now proposed his own idea for the European game which will be built on fair foundations that gives equal opportunity for all clubs.

He insists UEFA competitions the Champions League and the Europa League have failed, and has drawn up proposals for a new £8.5billion [€10bn] competition that must be accepted to work.

“The system doesn’t work any more,” said De Laurentiis as quoted by Football Italia.

Large numbers of fans protested against their clubs for their part in the failed European Super League

“The Champions and Europa League don’t generate sufficient income for the clubs to justify participating in it.

“To be competitive, you need more top-class players. That means you have to spend more money – and the prize money from the European competitions doesn’t account for that.

“That is why the clubs need to speak to each other to come up with a more modern and lucrative tournament for everyone in it.”

He added: “We need to reduce the number of games by reducing the size of the top divisions across Europe. Also, we create a European league with a democratic system of entry, based on what teams achieve in their domestic competitions.

“I have examined a project ready to bring €10bn to the European game, but we need willingness and total independence.”

Arsenal fans weren’t afraid to let their voices be heard as they protested against the failed European Super League last season

De Laurentiis bought Napoli in 2004 when the club was in financial ruin and playing in the third division, and quickly got them back to Serie A.

He is a big fan of the English game and even says Italian football ‘must learn from it’… despite the Italians beating the Three Lions in the Euro 2020 final.

And he also admitted his fear that young people are turning away from football, and he is keen to link up with other chairmen to make the sport attractive again.

“If we don’t change the rules of the game and make it a better spectacle, young people will abandon us and football will no longer be the central part of our lives,” he warned.

Napoli renamed their stadium after Diego Maradona following the late footballing great’s death in 2020. The Argentine maestro spent seven years at Napoli and helped the club to two Serie A titles and the UEFA Cup
Getty Images – Getty

“My research tells me that people between the ages of eight and 25 have stopped watching football and prefer playing with smartphones — they have totally transformed our children.

“I’m not saying that the habit of watching live football in a stadium will die, but now we have the ‘virtual stadium’, which can attract billions of people to play games against each other.

“Who knows if we will manage to get them back down the route of the greatest and most influential sport in the world?”

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