Soccer-European supporter groups unite to oppose breakaway 'Super League'

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(Reuters) - Supporters of European soccer teams as well as national sides said on Tuesday that they were united in their opposition to plans for a breakaway Super League, describing it as an "unpopular, illegitimate and dangerous scheme".

A document produced in support of a breakaway outlines a plan for a 20-team league outside of European soccer governing body UEFA's control, made up of 15 permanent members and only five who would qualify for the competition annually.

No clubs have publicly supported the plan and the Football Supporters Europe Network issued a statement opposing the idea of a breakaway league, signed by a wide cross-section of European fans.

"We are all united in our opposition to the creation of a European Super League - an unpopular, illegitimate and dangerous scheme in the eyes of the overwhelming majority of fans," the statement said.

"It would destroy the European model of sport, which is based on commonly accepted principles such as sporting merit, promotion and relegation, qualification to European competitions via domestic success and financial solidarity.

"In the process, it would also undermine the economic foundations of European football, concentrating even more wealth and power in the hands of a dozen or so elite clubs."

However, the fans group said that it recognised the game is in need of reform.

"But proposals to this end must seek to revive the competitive balance in European competitions, protect domestic leagues, promote the interests of fans, and encourage fairer revenue distribution," the statement added.

"A European Super League would achieve none of these objectives - quite the opposite."

World soccer's governing body FIFA has said players who feature in any breakaway European Super League would be banned from playing in FIFA competitions, including the World Cup.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Angus MacSwan)