Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola calls for clarity over European Super League plans

Spaniard describes the new competition as 'an embryo that is still not yet breathing'

Pep Guardiola has called on the architects of the proposed European Super League to explain why they are setting it up and what it will mean.

But the Manchester City manager said he would be opposed to a closed shop, insisting it is not sport if there is no reward for success on the field and also questioning the omission of Ajax from the new competition.

City are one of 12 clubs who have signed up and Guardiola said he was informed a few hours before a relatively brief statement was released on Sunday and he is eager to learn more details.

Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez was announced as the president of the ESL with Juventus’ Andrea Agnelli, Liverpool’s John W Henry and Manchester United’s Joel Glazer named as vice-presidents.

Along with fellow managers like Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel, Guardiola has been left to field questions but said he needs more information from the power brokers before giving a definitive view.

“I would love the president and vice-presidents for this committee to go all around the world and say what is the reason we took that decision. My opinion is that I would love to be clear and have all the information," said Guardiola, ahead of City's Premier League game at Aston Villa on Wednesday.

"Right now, it is an embryo that is still not yet breathing, it is just a statement and no one appears and says nothing.

“We [managers] speak six times a week in a press conference, we can talk about everything. We spoke about the virus and Covid and the NHS and the furlough but honestly we are not the right people to answer these questions because there are presidents or vice-presidents that can talk more clearly exactly what is the idea for the future and where football wants to go. For us, it is uncomfortable because we don’t have all the information.”

One of the ideas is for the Super League to have 15 permanent members and Guardiola believes it is essential for football that results on the pitch matter and have consequences.

“It is not a sport where the relationship between effort and success and effort and reward does not exist. It is not a sport where success is already guaranteed and it is not a sport when it doesn’t matter if you lose.”

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Guardiola is proud that City have booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals for only the second time in their history but West Ham and Leicester, who were not among the Super League’s members, are both in contention for top-four finishes in the Premier League.

The City manager said: “It is not fair when one team fight, fight, fight, to arrive at the top and cannot qualify because the success is already guaranteed just for a few teams.

"We are going to play the Champions League next week and we are going to try to reach the final and next season we are going to play European competitions because we deserve it and we won it on the pitch.”

Guardiola was influenced at Barcelona by Johan Cruyff, who won three European Cups with Ajax in the 1970s, and a club the Dutchman played for and managed were not named among the Super League members.

Guardiola added: “The right people have the obligation and the duty to clarify as soon as possible – today better than tomorrow, tomorrow better than the day after tomorrow – what the situation is that is going to come, why these teams play and others do not and why Ajax Amsterdam, who have four Champions Leagues, will not be there. If you ask me why these teams have been selected, I don’t know the reason.”

Updated: April 20, 2021 07:08 PM

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