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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

European super league breakaway would lead to 'war' - UEFA candidate

UEFA presidential candidate Aleksander Ceferin says a European super league breakaway is "out of the question" as it would lead to "war" between teams and the continent's governing body.

A new Champions League format is currently under discussion with talks between UEFA and the major European clubs underway for several months already and an announcement on potential changes could be made at Friday's group stage draw for the 2016-17 competition.

Sources have told ESPN FC that new terms could involve more guaranteed places in the group stage for the biggest sides with Spain, Italy, Germany and England each guaranteed four teams in the final competition, up from 11 currently.

Ceferin, the head of the Slovenia Football Association, holds over 20 pledges of support for his candidacy and looks intent on including the big club sides in discussions when the TV rights are renegotiated later this year following calls that they are financially undervalued currently.

Real Madrid are the current Champions League winners.

"One of the main issues awaiting the next UEFA president is relations to the big clubs," he said. "My firm opinion is that some kind of closed super league with just a few clubs in, without the possibility for the others to enter, is out of the question.

"It will mean a kind of war between UEFA and the clubs. If they want more revenues we should work on it. It is possible. The Champions League is the best sports product in the world, for sure. But it doesn't generate the most money. So we should include them [the clubs] more."

The £9 billion TV deal negotiated by the Premier League is behind the appetite for change with European sides. Real Madrid received £81m for winning last season's competition but the team that finishes bottom of the English top-flight will this year be guaranteed a reported £97m.

In a statement to AP, UEFA said it "expects to announce the evolution" of the Champions League at a news conference on Friday.

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