PSG chief Al-Khelaifi named ECA chairman

Newly appointed ECA head Nasser Al-Khelaifi (left) has been backed by Uefa boss Aleksander Ceferin.
Newly appointed ECA head Nasser Al-Khelaifi (left) has been backed by Uefa boss Aleksander Ceferin.

PARIS • Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was on Wednesday named as the new head of the European Club Association (ECA) replacing Andrea Agnelli, one of the key figures in the doomed Super League project.

Juventus chairman Agnelli left the job in the early hours of Monday after news of the breakaway league was revealed.

Despite their vast riches, French champions PSG were not one of the 12 clubs who signed up for the Super League.

"I am honoured and humbled to have been appointed by my fellow ECA executive board members as chairman," said Qatari Al-Khelaifi.

"The leadership, integrity and togetherness of our organisation has never been more required than at this pivotal moment in European football. I will provide my unconditional commitment to the entire football community.

"Our game will only prosper under unity and it is our duty as the custodians of football to fulfil this obligation."

The ECA represents over 200 clubs from 55 Uefa member associations and was created to help them safeguard their interests in European club football.

The choice of Al-Khelaifi was publicly welcomed by Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin, who told him on Tuesday that "with your help, we will save football".

He added: "Nasser is someone who has shown he is capable of looking after the interests of more clubs than just his own - which should be a prerequisite for the position of ECA chair.

"He is a man I can trust."

Al-Khelaifi was a key influence in Qatar's candidacy to host the 2022 World Cup and he also heads media giant beIN, one of the Champions League's broadcasters.

Earlier this week, the 12 clubs involved in the formation of the Super League quit their positions with the ECA.

The ECA said it welcomed the decision made by the majority of the clubs in not pursuing the breakaway project.

"ECA firmly believes this project could not succeed because football, at its core, is based on openness, sporting excellence and an inherent connection between everyone across the football family," it said.

"Football is for everybody. Recent events have been a reminder that club owners are merely custodians of their clubs, which are historic beacons that mean so much to fans and their communities."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 23, 2021, with the headline 'PSG chief Al-Khelaifi named ECA chairman'. Subscribe