German, French clubs oppose ‘elitist’ CL

May 16, 2019
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (left) and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba battle for the ball, during their first leg UEFA Champions League round-of-16 match at Anfield, in Liverpool, England, on Tuesday, February 19.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah (left) and Bayern Munich’s David Alaba battle for the ball, during their first leg UEFA Champions League round-of-16 match at Anfield, in Liverpool, England, on Tuesday, February 19.

PARIS (AP):

French and German professional football clubs rejected a proposal yesterday that would turn the UEFA Champions League into a largely closed-off competition.

After the Bundesliga said all 36 members voted to reject the European Club Association's (ECA)reform plan, representatives from professional French clubs gathered in Paris and rejected the project with 32 votes against, and three abstentions.

European football's governing body UEFA is planning to adopt similar plans to those proposed by the ECA. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are among 13 German members of the ECA, which is urging UEFA to make radical changes to the Champions League format. France has nine clubs in the powerful organisation.

High finish

The ECA wants 24 of 32 Champions League teams to automatically retain their places based on a high placing in expanded eight-team groups, starting from the 2024-25 season. Currently, Champions League places can only be earned by a high finish in a domestic league or by winning the competition or the second-tier Europa League title.

Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert said Champions League changes "must not jeopardise the relevance and future" of European national leagues. He added the ECA's plan "would sustainably damage the whole of European football -- and that can never be in the interest of the UEFA."

Hours later, the French league added its opposition to the plans.

"French football is worried about the current project's sporting and economic consequences on national leagues," the league said.

According to Didier Quillot, the French league's executive director, big clubs including Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Marseille and Lyon took part in the vote, amid reports that PSG and Lyon could support the current project. Quillot did not reveal how they voted.

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