Officials from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool met with American billionaire Stephen Ross in London on Tuesday to discuss forming a European Super League, according to a report in The Sun.
The newspaper claims that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, City’s chief executive Ferran Soriano and Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre all attended the meeting held at the Dorchester Hotel.
In 2013, Ross, the owner of American football franchise Miami Dolphins, organised the International Champions Cup, the preseason tournament which has seen major clubs play in the U.S., China and Australia.
None of the the clubs mentioned in the Sun’s story were immediately available for comment when contacted by ESPN FC.
A European Super League could be formed to ensure big-name clubs avoid the risk of failing to qualify for Europe’s current biggest cup competition, the Champions League.
The Champions League offers significant revenue for teams competing in the competition, with clubs receiving ¬15 million ($16.29m) for reaching the group stage and then further financial incentives should they progress.
Arsene Wenger said said in 2009 that he believes a European Super League could become a reality within the next 10 years. In January of this year, the Arsenal manager was asked about a report that the European Club Association was putting pressure on UEFA to offer guaranteed Champions League spots to the biggest clubs.
Wenger, who has qualified Arsenal for the Champions League in all 19 of his seasons at the club, said: “I think you can guess my answer. This sport is based on merit, and is one of the few areas in social life where it’s down to merit. You cannot guarantee anything to any club, no matter how big the support is.”
Also in January, Bundesliga chief executive Christian Seifert welcomed talks about the possibility of refreshing the Champions League, saying a European Super League could benefit German clubs, while Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is not ruling out the idea.
British newspapers the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph have picked up on The Sun’s report, with The Times acknowledging the European Super Leauge “could even threaten the clubs’ participation” in the Premier League.