Soccer

Stan Kroenke absent from talks as Arsenal players raise Super League ‘concerns’

Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke was reportedly absent from showdown talks between Arsenal players and the club's hierarchy over controversial plans to join a European Super League.

Gunners players are understood to have been in the dark over the plans which have rocked football before news broke on Sunday evening that 12 clubs were to form a breakaway league.

Arsenal are one of six Premier League clubs set to be 'founder members' – along with the rest of their so-called 'Big Six' rivals Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.

Manager Mikel Arteta said he was unaware of the proposals when quizzed about the matter following Sunday's 1-1 draw against Fulham.

And his players have been in meetings with club bosses throughout Monday, according to Goal, amid concerns they may not be banned from playing in the Premier League or representing their countries.

The publication claimed Arsenal's chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has been leading the talks and explaining why the club are backing plans for the Super League.

But the Gunners' billionaire owner Kroenke is in the USA and is not expected to fly over for talks.

It is said that reports the 73-year-old has been appointed as a vice-chairman of the Super League are wide of the mark.

The Premier League's 'Big Six' are joined in the plans to form a breakaway league by AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juventus and Real Madrid.

The plans have been met with widespread criticism, much of which has centred on the notion that clubs would not face the risk of relegation.

Four of the 'Big Six' are not currently in the Premier League's top four places and so would not qualify for next season's Champions League – with Arsenal's only realistic route into it being through winning the Europa League.

The Premier League has threatened to expel teams who join a breakaway competition, while one UEFA delegate predicted that Chelsea and Manchester City could be kicked out of this season's Champions League.

But the six English clubs are confident they can push ahead with the plans – which could be launched as early as next season – and still retain their domestic interest, because there is a belief the Premier League would not have the nerve to ban them.

European Super League announcement fallout




“What would the Premier League look like without those six clubs next season?” said once ESL source.

The 12 'founder clubs' were warned in a joint statement from groups including the Premier League, FA and UEFA that sanctions, including being banned from all domestic and European competitions, would be imposed on the clubs involved in a breakaway league.

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