All 20 Premier League clubs unanimously agree to reject radical Champions League proposals
- Premier League clubs have agreed to reject Champions League proposals
- UEFA is hoping to make radical changes to the European competition from 2024
- The change of format would see each club play 14 group games instead of six
- The ECA is also planning to base European qualification on historical success
- EPL Clubs released a statement stressing the importance of domestic structures
The chairmen of each club met in London to discuss how UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) are considering making major alterations which could derail domestic football.
It includes changing the format of the Champions League from eight groups of four teams to four groups of eight. That would see each club play 14 group games rather than six and put pressure on an already heaving calendar in England.
Premier League clubs have agreed to reject radical Champions League proposals
The ECA also want to make Europe’s elite competition more of a closed shop by basing qualification on historical success, which would remove the reward for a top-four finish.
The Premier League is taking the proposals seriously. In Friday’s meeting, every club’s representative, including Ed Woodward for Manchester United and Bruce Buck for Chelsea, spoke individually about the issue before they agreed to release a rare joint statement.
It read: ‘All clubs unanimously agreed it is inappropriate for European football bodies to create plans that would alter the structures, calendar and competitiveness of the domestic game and will work together to protect the Premier League.
‘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. We have a fantastic combination of competitive football and committed fans that we will vigorously defend.
The change of format would see each club play 14 group games instead of six
‘The structures of domestic football are determined by leagues and their respective national associations. 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.’
Leaders of the top leagues and clubs will now hold talks in Madrid in early May on Champions League reforms that risk creating splits in European football.
Also at Friday’s meeting in central London’s five-star Landmark Hotel was Mike Riley, the head of refereeing body PGMOL. He was there to discuss the existing protocols in place for dealing with discrimination. The referee first reports incidents to the safety office and police via the fourth official. If the problem persists, he is able to take the players off the pitch.
The Premier League also expect to have appointed a new chief executive by the time the clubs next meet in the summer.
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