Several of Europe’s leading clubs are looking into ways of creating a two-division Super League, the Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Tuesday.

The G-14 group which comprises 18 clubs including Real Madrid, Milan, Bayern Munich and Manchester United, are unhappy that UEFA have cut the second group phase of the Champions League from next season in favour of a straight knock out section.

According to Gazzetta, G14 are considering creating a European superleague to begin in the season 2006-07, the season the latest television deal for the Champions League ends.

Teams from the strongest soccer nations such as Italy, England, Spain and Germany would play first division of the new league with teams from lower-ranked nations playing in a second division. Promotion and relegation between the two divisions would exist and qualification would be basedupon UEFA’s ranking system.

The latest rumours about a European Super League carry echoes of a similar venture proposed in 1998, when Italian company Media Partners planned a breakaway league for the elite clubs only to shelve the plan when UEFA agreed to expand the Champions League.

The report in Gazzetta, if true, underlines the continuing tension between the continent’s leading club’s and its governing body. Given the financial troubles being experienced by many leading clubs, such conflict looks set to be a feature of European football for the foreseeable future.