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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 23 hours ago
Read
By ESPN Staff
Feb 19, 2008

Wenger restates Euro League beliefs

Arsene Wenger believes the Premier League's controversial proposal to play a 39th game abroad could eventually see UEFA look to establish a 'European Super League' of their own.

The plan has received widespread condemnation, with FIFA president Sepp Blatter declaring it will 'never happen', but Gunners boss Wenger believes the concept should be investigated properly before being written off.

Arsenal host holders AC Milan in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash at Emirates Stadium tomorrow night.

Wenger believes the club could have 'sold 200,000 tickets' for the highly-anticipated encounter, which is set to have a huge global television audience.

With interest in the sport at an all-time high around the world, Wenger has an opinion on why the international governing bodies have been reluctant to embrace the Premier League's proposal.

He said: 'When this idea of the 39th game came out, it created a lot of resistance domestically, but it also created a lot of resistance from the official organisers of the big competitions.

'They want to continue to master the international competitions themselves and to protect first their own competitions.

'I believe if a real threat would come out from a domestic league for international competitions, then certainly they would get a response from UEFA or FIFA to organise themselves.

'For example, let us accept now that England organise a 39th game. Then tomorrow, Italy will organise one, France will organise one, Spain maybe as well, because they can go to the Latin countries.

'So UEFA could say, 'listen let us do something'.'

The Arsenal manager reflected: 'It looked like it could happen when we had the second [Champions League] group stage, but the television did not want to buy it anymore.

'I feel for the spectacular side of the competition, they have done well now - every game in the direct knockout now creates a big interest.

'We could sell now maybe 200,000 tickets because everybody wants to see this game. It has created big interest.'

Despite his 2006 runners-up being paired with the current champions, Wenger would not be in favour of altering the 'free draw' of the knockout stages.

He said: 'I like the idea of completely open competition after the group stage, you cannot protect through the group stages and then again through the direct knockout.

'It would be a bit unfair to protect twice.'