Aleksander Ceferin has denied reports that clubs from Saudi Arabia could also play in the Champions League in the future. “Only European clubs can take part in the Champions League, the Europa League or the Europa Conference League,” said the 55-year-old President of the European Football Union UEFA when asked by the French sports newspaper “L’Équipe”. The draw for the group stage takes place this Thursday in Monaco.

Despite the upgrade of the financially strong Saudi league, Ceferin does not see this as a threat to European football. “We had a similar approach from China, which bought players at the end of their careers and offered them a lot of money. The result: Chinese football didn’t progress after that and didn’t qualify for the World Cup,” explained Ceferin.

This summer, a number of stars like Neymar or Sadio Mané moved to Saudi Arabia for a lot of money, which Ceferin sees critically: “It’s not the right way, they should work on training players and coaches, but that’s not my problem .”

According to Ceferin, only players at the end of their careers and those who are not ambitious enough are drawn to the desert: “As far as I know, Mbappé and Haaland do not dream of Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to the superstars Kylian playing in Europe Mbappe and Erling Haaland. “We’ll see what happens, but I don’t think for a second that it could endanger our competitions.”