Premier League concerned by Champions League reforms

9 April 2019 | Clubs & Rightsholders
Premier League concerned by Champions League reforms
The Premier League, English soccer’s top-flight league, has fiercely criticised plans formulated by the European Club Association (ECA) and continental governing body, UEFA, to alter the format of the Champions League and move fixtures to weekends.

In a joint statement released by all 20 Premier League clubs, they express “significant concerns” over the proposals to fundamentally change the format European soccer’s top club competition.

‘In England, football plays an important role in our culture and everyday life. Millions of fans attend matches across the country, with allegiances and local rivalries often passed down through generations,’ says the statement.

‘We will now work with the FA and other leagues to ensure that European football bodies understand the importance of this, and their obligation to maintain the health and sustainability of domestic league football.’

The statement comes as European Leagues – the body which represent European soccer leagues – confirmed it will meet with the ECA and UEFA to discuss the changes.

Lars-Christer Olsson, a European Leagues representative, said the objective of the meeting would be “to safeguard the domestic competitions and to protect the domestic competitions if needed.”

“The leagues are totally unanimous on what we would like to discuss and how we would like the competitions to develop,” added Olsen.

From 2024, the ECA, a body representing 15 of the Europe’s top clubs, and UEFA want to introduce promotion and relegation to the Champions League, as well as shifting fixtures from mid-week to weekends. Proposals also include gating the competition to clubs with historical success.

Andrea Agnelli, president of the ECA and Juventus, is also said to want to change the format of the group stages, creating four groups of eight teams instead of the current eight groups of four teams.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas has already released a statement that expressed his issues with the new format.

“UEFA and the ECA are constructing a competition which in the medium to long term will be an absolute failure because it is a coalition divided between the rich and the poor,” he said.

The ECA, UEFA and European Leagues will meet in May to discuss the potential major restructuring of European soccer.

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