By Jon Bramley
LONDON, Mar 23 (Reuters) A policy statement by Europe's G14 club representative body released to Reuters today offers an olive branch to UEFA, making no direct reference to plans for a breakaway Champions League.
However, in one section entitled ''Strategic Options'', the document states that ''the top-level professional clubs should also maintain their future options by making preparations for the creation of a 'European Professional League' body to run top-level European international club competitions...''.
Under the same section, the G14, which represents 18 of Europe's richest clubs, says clubs ''would benefit from the creation of an international top professional clubs' association in which G14 would play a leading role''.
In a telephone interview with Reuters, G14 general-secretary Thomas Kurth denied these statements were tantamount to a call for a split from European football's governing body and the creation of an alternative Champions League.
''There are no plans for this in the foreseeable future,'' he said. UEFA accuses the clubs of seeking only money and power but the G14 says it simply wants its members, which include Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich, to have a bigger say in the running of European soccer and revenue distribution.
''If there were the intention of a breakaway why would we do all this (consultation)?'' said Kurth.
''We would just simply break away, but we do this because we don't want to do that, and we don't want a ring-fenced competition.'' 'FINISH TOP' Kurth said the G14 was committed to clubs only being included in the Champions League through ''sporting results''.
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