Last updated : 06 January 2003 By editor

Arsene Wenger has threatened to lead a breakaway from the Premiership.

From Sky Sports:

‘Wenger is livid with constant club versus country rows which force his superstars to play too much football and believes the situation, if unresolved, could end in chaos.

"There's going to be a split in football. Clubs will end up refusing to release their players. The G-14 - the alliance of Europe's biggest clubs - now has 18 members and with 18 teams we could create a new League. This threat is not virtual, it is real."

The Highbury boss warns Europe's 18 elite clubs - including Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool - WOULD be prepared to quit their own national associations.

He added: "One day FIFA's chief medical officer, Professor Jiri Dvorak, says players are playing too many games and the next the same body is organising another tournament. It's a joke. We have to stop these tournaments with no interest and in which the players don't want to play. Germany, Italy and Spain all refused to play in this Mickey Mouse cup. But France will play New Zealand and that's really exciting. If we don't deal with these problems there's going to be a split-I've no doubts about it."

The Confederations Cup in June involves France, Brazil, Colombia, Cameroon, USA, Japan, New Zealand and Turkey. Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord and Pascal Cygan plus Brazilian duo Gilberto Silva and Edu are all likely to be involved in the Confederations Cup."

So France decides to play in a dodgy tournament on the other side of the world and the Arsenal manager threatens to smash the European League system - where is the condemnatory Daily Mirror front page?