Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola say ‘only factory workers can complain’ as UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin defends ‘ridiculous’ working hours claims


UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin has taken a new tact with dissident managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, telling them to stop complaining.

Both Liverpool and Manchester City bosses have regularly criticized UEFA’s ever-expanding schedule, with the 2024 Champions League set to add even more games.

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Klopp and Guardiola were the most vocal critics of Ceferin and UEFA

But the UEFA president fired back again

But the UEFA president fired back again

Klopp recently called Ceferin’s Nations League “one of the most ridiculous ideas in the world of football”, while Guardiola echoed his rival’s comments on player welfare.

Ceferin has already won a war with owners like Liverpool and City trying to form a breakaway European super league, and he doesn’t have much time for head coaches either.

Defending the expanded Champions League plans, he said: “Today you can already predict who will play in the round of 16 after the draw.

“In the future, the big clubs will meet more frequently, the smaller clubs will have a better chance of qualifying and the group will fight until the end. It will be spectacular, 2024 is tomorrow.

“Everyone wants more cup games, but nobody is giving up anything. The clubs wanted 10 Champions League group stage games. They will have eight, that’s the right number.

“The national leagues should have 18 clubs, but the presidents don’t agree. They have to understand that two national cups are too many.

Ceferin blamed the leagues for too many competitions and too many teams

Getty Images – Getty

Ceferin blamed the leagues for too many competitions and too many teams


“It’s always easy to attack FIFA and UEFA, but the thing is simple. If you play less, you win less money. Who should complain, it’s the factory workers who get €1,000 a month.

In another defense of the proposals, the Slovenian highlighted the success of the Europa Conference League in his debut season.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “A genius said it was a useless cup. You saw when Roma and Feyenoord played in the final, it was worthy of a Europa League final.

“The same genius protested because it was played in a small stadium. But the real genius is Jose Mourinho. He was moved when I spoke to him [after the final].”

It's hard to argue that Mourinho didn't justify the creation of the ECL

AFP

It’s hard to argue that Mourinho didn’t justify the creation of the ECL

Ceferin was also asked about his relationship with the super league presidents who still maintain the project is alive.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus claim the breakaway competition is not over despite the departure of nine of its founding members within 48 hours of its inception.

He admitted: “Nothing with [Juve’s Andrea] Agnelli, I met [Real Madrid’s Florentino] Perez and followed protocol.

“UEFA is not my property, so we sat close to each other in the Champions League final in Paris and I congratulated him, that’s all.

Perez tried to end the Champions League but has since celebrated his side's victory

AFP

Perez tried to end the Champions League but has since celebrated his side’s victory

“UEFA is not a monopoly. Clubs can decide to be included or not, to participate in our competitions or to organize their own. But in this case, they can’t play in our tournaments, it makes sense, right?

“The [super league] project is dead because nobody wants to participate. I only see three people mad at everyone and bringing everyone to justice, but now it’s over.

“I am not on good terms with the president of PSG but with the president of ECA. He is the one who understood and defended the European model, unlike other European clubs.

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