Ronny Deila says Super League plan could harm European game

Celtic manager Ronny Deila believes the popularity of elite European club football could be diminished by the proposed formation of a closed-shop Super League.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila believes a proposed Super League could lessen interest in elite European football. Picture: John Devlin.

Barcelona’s financial vice-president Susana Monje joined the ongoing debate over the issue this week, stating a need to “promote a European League from a position where clubs are in control.” Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who is leading the call for change from his position as chairman of the European Club Association, has added to his criticism of the current Champions League format by calling for the introduction of a tennis-style seeding system which would prevent a repeat of this week’s last-16 tie between his club and Juventus.

Rummenigge has also suggested a new Super League with the membership of Europe’s biggest clubs protected in a tiered structure which would place the existing Champions League and Europa League below it.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Deila, who hopes to lead Celtic into the Champions League qualifiers again this summer, is concerned at the wider impact such changes would make on the wider appeal of European club competition.

“I will not say it is a positive thing for football,” said 
Deila. “We need everyone to feel connected to it and if there are only some nations whose clubs get to play in it, then we maybe lose interest in the 
other nations.

“I love the Champions League and the interest in it is fantastic. But there are more and more differences in the economies of the clubs from the bigger nations and the others. The bigger nations are going to get more and it will be even harder for the smaller countries to get the opportunities. It could be that you have three or four divisions in 
European football, so you can play yourself up to the big games and the big money.

“If there’s no Champions League as it is now, then it’s only the biggest clubs from the biggest leagues who will get all the opportunities to get in and the others will have to fight to get in. I don’t know how it’s going to be for clubs such as Celtic, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, Copenhagen, Rosenborg and Malmo. What possibility do they have to get in? I don’t know how that is going to be.”