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Ceferin vetoes Saudi Arabia: Only European clubs can enter Champions League

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has discussed the current situation in football, particularly focusing on the emerging Saudi Arabian league and the new season of the Champions League.

Ceferin compared the Saudi Arabian league to the Chinese league, which a few years ago also attracted several stars.

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"It's not a threat, we saw a similar approach in China, which bought players at the end of their careers by offering them a lot of money," Ceferin told L'Equipe.

"Chinese football didn't develop and didn't qualify for the World Cup afterwards.

"That's not the right way to do it. They should work on player and coach development, but that's not my problem."

The head of UEFA also stressed that the best players in their prime haven't gone to Saudi Arabia.

"There are players at the end of their careers and others who aren't ambitious enough to aspire to the 'top' competitions," he added.

"As far as I know, [Kylian] Mbappe and [Erling] Haaland don't dream of Saudi Arabia.

"I don't believe that the best players at the pinnacle of their careers would go to Saudi Arabia.

"When people talk to me about the players who went there, nobody knows where they're playing."

Ceferin went on to indicate that he doesn't see Saudi Arabia as a competitor to UEFA's tournaments at present.

"This mainly interests the media, but not so much the European football community," he noted.

"We'll see, but I don't even think for a second that this could threaten our competitions."

No Saudi Arabian teams in the Champions League

In recent weeks, there have been rumors that Saudi Arabian clubs could participate in the Champions League in upcoming editions, but Ceferin has denied this speculation.

"A media outlet talked about this without even asking us," Ceferin declared.

"Only European clubs can participate in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League."

Ceferin had a similar stance when asked about the possibility of a Champions League final in the United States in the future.

"Only European federations can apply [to host] a final, not even clubs," he continued.

"We would have to change all our rules, and we don't want that."

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