European Super League: Uefa furious at 11 major clubs signing up to breakaway plans


Juventus and AC Milan have signed up to the breakaway league plans

Senior Uefa figures are furious that 11 major European clubs, including five from England, have signed up to a breakaway European Super League.

BBC Sport was told last week of plans for some sort of confirmation about a European Super League.

Uefa hoped to head off plans with a new-look 36-team Champions League set to be confirmed on Monday.

Uefa said it will use “all measures available” to stop the “cynical project” of a breakaway Super League.

The European governing body released a joint statement together with the English Football Association, Premier League Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), La Liga, and the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) as well as Serie A on Sunday.

They said they will “remain united” in trying to stop the breakaway, using both judicial and sporting measures if required.

They also reiterated Fifa’s stance that players taking part in the Super League would be banned from all other competitions at domestic, European or world level and could be prevented from representing their national teams.

In a separate statement, the Premier League said it condemned the proposal as it “attacks the principles of open competition and sporting merit which are at the heart” of domestic and European football.

Juventus owner Andrea Agnelli, Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and AC Milan chief executive Ivan Gazidis would all have had a significant input into the Champions League discussions on Friday.

However, it appears those clubs are among those to have broken ranks, to the fury of Uefa, whose president Aleksander Ceferin wanted to stave off a Super League threat.

Spanish La Liga sides Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are also part of the 11-team group, as are Italian Serie A club Inter Milan.

None of the clubs concerned have responded to questions about the proposals.

The Premier League said a European Super League would “destroy” the dream of fans that “their team may climb to the top and play against the best”.

It added such a league would “undermine the appeal of the whole game” and that they would work with the FA, the English Football League, Professional Footballers’ Association, League Managers Association and fans to “defend the integrity and future prospects of English football”.

The FA said it will “not provide permission to any competition that would be damaging to English football” and will “take any legal and/or regulatory action necessary” to stop it.

Bundesliga sides are opposed to the plans because the German model means commercial investors cannot have more than a 49% stake in clubs, so fans hold a majority of their own voting rights.

It is understood French Ligue 1 side Paris St-Germain are not part of the 11-team group.

Uefa said it thanked “those clubs in other countries, especially the French and German clubs, who have refused to sign up” to the breakaway league.

“We call on all lovers of football, supporters and politicians, to join us in fighting against such a project if it were to be announced,” they added.

“This persistent self-interest of a few has been going on for too long. Enough is enough.”

Quite when the European Super League would start is unclear.

However, world governing body Fifa has already said it would not recognise such a competition and any players involved in it would be denied the chance to play at a World Cup.

Serie A have called an emergency board meeting to discuss the matter.

The Football Supporters’ Association said it is “totally opposed” to the plans, which it said were “motivated by nothing but cynical greed”.

They added: “This competition is being created behind our backs by billionaire club owners who have zero regard for the game’s traditions and continue to treat football as their personal fiefdom.”

It has been agreed the new-look Champions League will involve an initial phase where every club plays 10 matches each rather than the current group phase.

In addition there would be play-offs, followed by a knockout phase.

The most controversial aspect of the proposals surround the allocation of the four additional places, with two being reserved for the clubs ranked highest in Uefa’s co-efficient table who fail to qualify for the Champions League through their domestic competition, but do secure some kind of European football.

At the moment, Liverpool and Chelsea would be the clubs who benefited from that system if it was in place this season.

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Super Rugby: Queensland Reds, Brad Thorn, Sam Cordingley, Wallabies, Crusaders, coffee meeting


To pinpoint the moment where the Queensland Reds’ re-emergence as a rugby powerhouse began, you’ve got to go back to early 2015.

It was over a coffee in March of that year where former Wallaby Sam Cordingley met Brad Thorn in the Brisbane suburb of Aspley, where the giant forward went to school.

The Reds were keen to recruit the World Cup-winning All Black, who won NRL premierships with the Broncos and Origins with Queensland, but couldn’t sign him given they already had their quota of internationals on their list.

But a question from Cordingley, who had only just started as general manager of the Reds, got the ball rolling about what life looked like for arguably the greatest dual international of all time.

“We had a conversation around what does life look like after rugby,” Cordingley tells foxsports.com.au. “He was considering going back to Leicester, but we kept in touch around what he wanted to do post rugby.

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Rebels vs Brumbies Tips, Odds and Betting – Super Rugby Australia 2021


AAMI Park will play host to Sunday”s
Round 9 Super Rugby game between Rebels and
Brumbies. The game kicks off at 2:00 pm with Brumbies heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Rebels vs.
Brumbies
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Sunday April 18, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Where: AAMI Park

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Rebels vs Brumbies Odds

Rebels vs Brumbies Preview

Both teams enter this game coming off tight losses although the stories of their seasons are very different.

After going down to the Reds in a gripping contest in Brisbane last week, the Brumbies will finish second and host the Preliminary Final against either the Rebels or Force.

Things are not lining up well for the home side here with star man Reece Hodge out for the next 10 weeks with a knee injury suffered attempting the winning drop goal in Perth last week.

In this fixture last year the Rebels stunned the Brumbies with a 30-12 win but with the visitors out to rebound from last week’s loss, I’ll back them to get home in a close contest.

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Rebels vs Brumbies Tip

We’re tipping Brumbies to win at $1.43 odds.





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Rugby Australia takes the pragmatic approach to Super expansion


Last year, there was an almighty scuffle when New Zealand Rugby sought to establish, and effectively run, a trans-Tasman/Pacific rugby competition. NZ Rugby said that in its preferred model one, two, or three Australian sides would have to go.

For Rugby Australia, newly re-wedded to the five team concept, this was almost an existential threat, as it would kill off the national growth of the game. In either the greatest bluff of the past decade, or a sign of genuine exasperation, the Herald understands Rugby Australia presented NZ Rugby with a six-team Australian competition – including the Fiji Drua – that it would start up rather than cut the Force or the Rebels.
NZ Rugby effectively blinked, and at that stage Rugby Australia was happy. It felt that it had secured its five teams and was looking forward to a 10-team trans-Tasman competition.

It was only after that stage did NZ Rugby come back to Rugby Australia with its plans to add the two Pasifika teams, which RA agreed to (with oversight conditions) as part of progress towards a Super Rugby commission that would eventually run the new competition.

The Herald understands the introduction of that commission remains firmly on RA’s agenda, even though the time frame is very tight for it to be set up in time for the 2022 season.

That series of events explains why, outwardly at least, NZ Rugby has been ‘excluding’ RA from the Pasifika process. It’s true that the Kiwis have been running the show, and perhaps RA would have liked more say into the criteria for the new teams, but the business plans of Moana Pasifika and Fiian Drua have been shared across the ditch.

The whole process also reflects the different political landscapes in both countries. In short, the Australian Super Rugby franchises probably carry more clout than their Kiwi counterparts. For example, the Kiwi Super Rugby sides don’t get a vote on the Silver Lake/NZ Rugby private equity proposal. Instead, the 26 provincial unions do. Also, Super Rugby players in New Zealand are NZ Rugby employees. That’s who pays them. Australian Super Rugby franchises probably wish they had more say, but they have more weight than across the ditch.

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And, if the Australian Super Rugby sides – running on a smell of an oily rag – were more concerned about their own sustainability than Pasifika expansion, it would be a logical – if unromantic – position, and most likely communicated to RA.

The path for Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua still has some hurdles despite this week’s announcement. Both franchises still need millions of dollars. There is still a lingering suspicion – although decreasing – that cold, hard rugby economics could derail the plan in the coming months. In that case, NZ Rugby would wear the blame for it, as it is currently carrying all the risk.

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Chiefs vs Crusaders Tips, Odds and Betting – Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021


FMG Stadium Waikato will play host to Saturday”s
Round 8 Super Rugby game between Chiefs and
Crusaders. The game kicks off at 5:05 pm with Crusaders heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Chiefs vs.
Crusaders
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Saturday April 17, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Where: FMG Stadium Waikato

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Chiefs vs Crusaders Odds

Chiefs vs Crusaders Preview

The Chiefs are flying with three straight victories and have a game in hand on the rest of the competition heading into this weekend.

You have to at least give them an outside chance considering the Crusaders have looked mortal in their previous two outings.

They needed extra time to top the lowly Hurricanes last week after a stunning 21 point home loss to the Highlanders the week before that.

So while you can give the Chiefs an outside chance of springing another upset the Crusaders are the one team you have to give the benefit of the doubt to when it comes to finding form in the back half of the season.

It is very much a pick based on reputation but I’m not going to back against the dynasty until it is proven to be dead and not just a bit below its normal level.

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Chiefs vs Crusaders Tip

We’re tipping Crusaders to win at $1.44 odds.





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Fiji’s Super entry has the ingredients for a runaway success


The Fijian Kaviti Silvertails are a good example of how this model could work. This Fijian selection rugby league team will be part of the NSW Cup for the foreseeable future. But a Super Rugby team is on a much grander scale.

The Australian Government, Rugby Australia and the World Rugby-backed entity that is Oceania Rugby are already working hard with the Fijian Rugby Union to help develop the community game and specifically to identify female leaders, while also using Fiji’s incomparable affinity with the game to strengthen communities via the values of Rugby.

The Fijian Drua in Super Rugby would be the Big Bang that accelerates and validates it all.

Regardless of where are they based, the Drua should be a Fijian team and the goal must be that they are a Fiji-based team. That is what needs to be done to support rugby in the Pacific with the ultimate goal to get Tonga and Samoa to the same place. (Add Japanese representation ASAP and it’s starting to look good commercially, and in a sporting sense).

What’s in it for Australian Rugby must also be a consideration, even as we assume our role as leaders in the region, and support the continued Rugby development of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji specifically, and Oceania Rugby as a whole.

I see twomajor positives a sixth team would give Super Rugby AU, if that competition is to continue.

First, there would be a third game per week which is desirable, and, seriously, what a team it would be. The Drua thrilled spectators in their stint in NRC and will certainly be very different to the way teams like the Rebels and Brumbies play. In style of play, they will provide a great challenge for the five Australian teams.

And second, the magnificent Fijian supporters. Wherever Fijian teams play rugby, their countrymen and women buy tickets, turn up in droves, wear their teams colours and put a raucous atmosphere into every stadium. They bring fun to every match their team plays in.

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The only strange part about the news of ‘conditional entry’ to Super Rugby of Fiji and Moana Pasifika is that it didn’t come from a SANZAAR announcement, or even a joint NZ Rugby-Rugby Australia announcement.

With Australia’s record of support for the Drua, RA’s position would seem obvious but some clarity from all of SANZAAR’s members would be encouraging.

It has been described as a new dawn for Super Rugby. But these are old friends from the Pacific, and their entry into Super Rugby is not before time.

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Super Rugby: Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika to join the competition in 2022.


Super Rugby will expand to 12-teams in 2022 and become a trans-Tasman competition again with conditional licences granted to the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika to join.

Last month World Rugby pledged a $2.16 million annual package to guide the teams through their first three years in the competition.

Expansion has now been deemed viable and licenses officially granted, news hailed by Rugby Australia as a “new dawn” for rugby in the region.

The process is not yet a fait accompli, with final approval of the business plan needed by June 30.

“Once further conditions around the licences have been met, we look forward to formalising the composition of the teams in what will hopefully prove a new dawn for Rugby in the region,” Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said.



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Super Rugby AU: Queensland Reds star Jordan Petaia shapes as Wallabies fullback option, France, Tom Wright, Dave Rennie, Israel Folau


He might not have played at fullback under Dave Rennie, but Jordan Petaia shapes a possible solution for the Wallabies in the No.15 jersey in the years to come.

Petaia and Brumbies flyer Tom Wright have both impressed Rennie out wide and the duo are both being considered as possible solutions to fill the void left by Israel Folau.

Even before Folau was sacked by Rugby Australia there was debate about whether he should be played at fullback or the wing, but it’s long been a position the Wallabies haven’t nailed since Chris Latham and Matthew Burke wore the jersey.

Kurtley Beale at times looked like a world beater in the position and was nominated as World Rugby player of the year in 2010 when occupying the role.

But his flaws under the high ball meant he shifted in and out of the role throughout his career.



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Highlanders vs Chiefs Tips, Odds and Betting – Super Rugby Aotearoa 2021


Forsyth Barr Stadium will play host to Saturday”s
Round 7 Super Rugby game between Highlanders and
Chiefs. The game kicks off at 5:05 pm with Highlanders heading into the game as favourites with the bookmakers. Continue reading for our in-depth preview of the Highlanders vs.
Chiefs
game and give you our free tips and bets.

When: Saturday April 10, 2021 at 5:05 pm

Where: Forsyth Barr Stadium

Bet 💰: Bet On This Match
HERE

Highlanders vs Chiefs Odds

Highlanders vs Chiefs Preview

After a historically bad start to their Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign, the Chiefs have finally found their footing with a pair of close fought wins over the Hurricanes and Blues.

Most impressive is the fact they have won in very different styles in those games, scoring 35 on the Hurricanes before grinding out a 15-12 win at home against the Blues.

The Highlanders will be full of confidence themselves however, stunning the defending champion Crusaders with a 33-12 win in Christchurch.

In spite of the Highlanders massive win last year and very profitable history of four wins and a draw from the last five head to head meetings, I just can’t shake this feeling the Chiefs are on the way back.

I’ll back the upset and the Highlanders winless streak at home in 2021 to extend to three games.

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Highlanders vs Chiefs Tip

We’re tipping Chiefs to win at $2.34 odds.





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Super Rugby AU: Refereeing blunder ends Brumbies’ home final hopes after loss to Queensland Reds


It flew under the radar in the immediate aftermath of another epic domestic derby, but the Brumbies were robbed the chance of hosting another Super Rugby AU final on Saturday.

With the Brumbies trailing by two points and metres away from the Reds’ line with the full-time siren about to sound, the ball spat loose from the ruck and it helped the home side clear their own line and, ultimately, prevail.

But how did the ball come out?

As replays showed, Liam Wright clearly had his hands in the ruck and should have been sent to the sin bin as the ball spat free. Twice he attempted to knock the ball loose and the second time, with Brumbies halfback Ryan Lonergan ready to clear it, he achieved his desired result.

The effort was straight from the Richie McCaw playbook.



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