New G-14 boss may swell lobby group to 32

May 17, 2007

New G14 president Jean-Michel Aulas is determined to increase the influence of European football's elite clubs.

The Lyon supremo's election victory could lead to a huge swelling of G14 numbers as the Frenchman seeks to secure a stronger voice for his members.

The organisation was launched with 14 clubs in 2000, took on four new members in 2002 and will now consider inviting a further 16 teams to join.

Extra clubs from the traditional strongholds of England, Spain, Italy and Germany are likely to be admitted but the expansion would also be done geographically.

That could see the likes of Celtic and Rangers push for inclusion, together with Russian, Turkish, Greek and Scandinavian clubs.

'We looked at the principle of expanding the G14 and I was only prepared to become the new president if everyone was in agreement,' said Aulas, who takes over from former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, at a meeting in Glasgow.

'The principle was accepted unanimously and it will be discussed by a management committee in the coming weeks and months.

'We looked at the G14 and want it to expand geographically and be strengthened by other clubs.

'We want to ensure wider responsibility and carry on discussions with the four main bodies, in no particular order, FIFA, UEFA, FIFPro and the European Commission.

'We are big clubs and we are just like any other economic activity. We need to battle for our members.'

Dein, who had been just six months into a two-year presidency, relinquished his position after leaving Arsenal last month.

Aulas has established Lyon as a force in European football.

He took charge of the French club in 1987 with the goal of taking them into Europe, and under Paul Le Guen and current boss Gerard Houllier, Lyon have made a significant impact in UEFA competitions.

Having never previously been French champions, they have won the last six Ligue 1 titles.

Aulas has a good relationship with fellow Frenchman Michel Platini, the new president of UEFA, and hopes that continues.

Aulas said: 'Michel Platini is an intelligent guy and he has shown his attributes by getting where he has in UEFA.

'We need to represent the interest of clubs and we need joint discussions with various bodies. I am well placed to work with him.'