UEFA Champions League - RSL Saudi LeagueGOAL AR

Saudi clubs in the UEFA Champions League? Pro League director of football Michael Emenalo responds to 'wild card' claims

  • Saudi executives allegedly wanted in
  • UEFA coy on rumours
  • Director of league dispels claims

WHAT HAPPENED? It was reported last month that executives from the Saudi Pro League were planning on submitting an extraordinary request to UEFA - one that would see the league winners feature in European football's top club competition. It would be proposed as a 'wild card' entry, but Emenalo, Chelsea's former director of football, has rubbished the claims.

WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to talkSPORT, Emenalo said: "I don't know where that's come from. I think that's someone taking a dreamy leap into a far-fetched future. I think our goal is to take quality baby steps and the first step is to stabilise our league, make it very entertaining for our fans and getting fans across the world to pay attention to what we're doing."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite what Emenalo said, there's little doubt the footballing world has been put on notice by the transfer dealings of Saudi sides this summer. Big-name players including Neymar, Riyad Mahrez and Jordan Henderson all swapped Europe for Saudi Arabia as the league looks to grow rapidly.

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Michael Emenalo ChelseaGettyJordan Henderson 2023 GettyChampions League trophyGetty Images

WHAT NEXT FOR THE SAUDI PRO LEAGUE? With their summer transfer window having slammed shut on Thursday, clubs can put away their chequebooks and concentrate on football with the next round of games set to get underway on September 14.