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Wednesday, July 29, 1998 Published at 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK

Sport: Football

Premier League acts on Europe rumour

Man United v Valerenga: Pre-season games already cross boundaries

The Premier League is investigating whether English clubs have been invited to join a proposed European Super League.

It is reported that following a urgent request for information the League has received assurances that top teams will not form a new competition without notice.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United are all said to have been informed of a Europe-wide league planned for 2000, led by Spanish and Italian clubs.

A Premier League statement said: "While we believe the present structure is working well, it is only sensible that we, as other leagues and Uefa are doing, clarify what, if any, proposals exist concerning a Super League."

A Premier League spokesman declined to say whether it had issued the ultimatum but admitted that it wanted the clubs to say no to the concept of a Super League.

Manchester United recently denied any involvement in such a league.

"We are getting a little fed up with speculation linking us with a Super League," said its secretary Ken Ramsden.

The rules prohibit clubs from playing in any professional competitions not recognised by their domestic League and Football Association.

League would 'increase divide'

A respected analyst has warned that a European Super League would increase the divide between football's haves and have-nots.

Analyst William Davies, of Albert E Sharp, believes the three sides could reap a financial windfall worth millions. Figures of 20m per year have been reported.

But he claims their extra financial muscle would also see them tighten their grip on the game's honours.

"It would increase their wealth considerably and it would further distance them from the other clubs," he said.

"Money does not necessarily guarantee success, but if you have got lots of it, it is one big advantage."

He added: "My feeling is that a European Super League is inevitable, and if it does not happen along these lines it will happen in some other form."

The Professional Footballers' Association is concerned about the demands the extra games will put on players.

The PFA deputy chief executive Brendon Batson said: "It seems the demands on players are increasing all the time and it's hard to see how they can fit any more games in."

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