European super league: Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal against idea

Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal's Manchester United side are currently fifth in the Premier League

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is against the formation of a breakaway European super league.

Speculation regarding a new league came after a meeting of officials from United and top-flight rivals Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

But Van Gaal has voiced his opposition, adding that the Champions League should revert to include only title winners.

"Everybody knows, when you follow my career, that I am against all the super leagues and things like that," he said.

On the subject of the Champions League, he said: "It has to be between champions in my opinion. I said that 20 years ago and I say it now again.

"I think sport is to win, not to be second or third."

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Van Gaal won the Champions League as Ajax manager in 1995, two seasons before the tournament was expended to allow the runners-up from eight domestic leagues to participate.

England - along with Germany and Spain - now have four teams qualifying for the competition every season based on league position.

Leicester and Tottenham occupy the first two of the four Champions League places available for next season, with United and Liverpool currently outside the Premier League's top four.

Asked about this week's events, Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri said it was mostly "speculation".

"This is sport, no? I understand they want to do something, but if something strange happens, they shouldn't blame the little teams, they should blame themselves," he said.

"They are trying to do something, but I think people must think about what fans want, not only about money, because the culture and the fans are more important than other things."

Claudio Ranieri
Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City side are top of the Premier League by three points

Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink appeared to support Ranieri and Van Gaal, saying: "I think we must all be careful to go into exclusivity when teams like, this year, surprisingly, Leicester is mixing in.

"They have the full right to be where they are now and are a good contender for the next Champions League this year."

This week, Arsenal said they were "strongly opposed" to a European super league, the impetus for which is believed to come from clubs in mainland Europe due to the current financial strength of the Premier League.

Charlie Stillitano, chairman of American company Relevent Sports that organises the pre-season International Champions Cup competition, was also involved in Tuesday's meeting between the five Premier League clubs.

When asked if a super league was on the agenda, Stillitano told radio station Sirius XM: "I think it is. They're talking about it all over Europe. At least a change in format.

"When they came up with the Champions League, the idea wasn't to have PSV and Genk playing in the knockout stage.

"What would Manchester United argue: did we create soccer or did Leicester create [it]?

"Let's call it the money pot created by soccer and the fandom around the world. Who has had more of an integral role, Manchester United or Leicester?

"It's a wonderful, wonderful story - but you could see it from Manchester United's point of view, too."

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