Super League has to be stopped, says Villa's Smith

Football League founder member Villa won the old European Cup, precursor to the Champions League, in 1982 but is not among the 'big six' English sides involved in the proposed new league.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith looks on.   -  REUTERS

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said on Tuesday a breakaway European Super League risked shattering the dreams of clubs like his and had to be stopped.

Football League founder member Villa won the old European Cup, precursor to the Champions League, in 1982 but is not among the 'big six' English sides involved in the proposed new league.

Smith said Villa, who host Premier League leader Manchester City on Wednesday, had been a third division club when he was born in 1971.

"Eleven years later I watched them lift the European Cup, which is the pinnacle... and that was the dream, they earned the right to do that by winning the League the previous season," he said.

"The Champions League in its format probably needs to evolve now and change, but to then create your own Super League from where there is no promotion and relegation, it just totally baffles me.

"It actually takes away the competition for people to go and reach that Champions League final. I dreamt of becoming a Premier League manager... my next dream is to break into those Champions League places and challenge again for Aston Villa.

"This idea, this concept takes away the whole fabric of sporting competition. For me, it is a total non-starter."

The new Super League would guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars a year in extra income to the teams involved. But fans and other teams say that would throw domestic leagues out of competitive balance and damage the sport.

Unlike the Champions League, open to any team that qualifies through their domestic league, the original 12 Super League teams guaranteed themselves a place each year.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are the English clubs involved along with Spain's Barcelona, Madrid clubs Real and Atletico and Italy's Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan.

"Maybe owners at the moment are looking at the league table and not liking the fact that West Ham United and Leicester City are in the Champions League places," said Smith.

"Ourselves and Leeds, who have recently been promoted, have got ideas of trying to become Champions League teams, as have Everton, Leicester, Wolves...

"That's why for me this is an idea that has to be stopped as soon as possible."