(Reuters) - A top official from the Council of Europe has called on an inter-governmental sports co-ordination body to urgently discuss the ramifications of the proposed breakaway European Super League.
The Super League project was announced on Sunday with 12 founding members, though six Premier League clubs have withdrawn following a backlash from players, fans and football authorities.
The Enlarged Partial Agreement on Sport (EPAS) was formed by the Council of Europe in 2007 for European governments to come together and address challenges facing sport.
Norway's Bjorn Berge, who serves as the Deputy Secretary General of the Council, said the Super League was an "unfortunate initiative" and the EPAS board should take up the matter.
"I believe that it is important and timely to organise an urgent exchange between public authorities and the sport movement to address the possible implications of such an unfortunate initiative ...," Berge said in a letter to EPAS Chairman Alexandre Husting.
The Super League has argued that the project would increase revenues to the top clubs and allow them to distribute more money to the rest of the game.
However, governing bodies, other teams and fans organisations said the move would only boost the power and wealth of the elite clubs, and that the partially closed structure went against European football's long-standing model.
"It would be key to discuss how the principles of solidarity, sporting merit, openness in competitions, sport integrity and inclusion, could help governments and sports organisations to protect sports from initiatives that completely deprive sport governing bodies of their fundamental regulatory role," Berge added.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)