German, French Clubs Oppose More Elitist Champions League Proposal

Jose Verdugo
May 18, 2019

French and German professional soccer clubs on Wednesday rejected a proposal that would turn the Champions League into a largely closed-off competition.

The region's governing body UEFA is working with the European Club Association (ECA), whose members include all of the continent's biggest clubs, to re-design European competition after the current worldwide calendar ends in 2024.

The French Football League (LFP) and the German Football League (DFL) have signalled their opposition to proposed Champions League changes.

The French league (LFP), meanwhile, said it would propose an alternative in the next few days.

UEFA has said discussions are at a preliminary stage and has not given any further details.

The European Leagues' board - which includes the Premier League and English Football League - met in Warsaw to discuss proposals laid out by European football's governing body.

"The now discussed concept of the European Club Association would have unacceptable consequences for the national leagues in Europe and should therefore not be implemented in this form", said DFL CEO Christian Seifert.

Documents seen by AFP last week revealed Uefa was working on similar reforms, with plans to reshape the Champions League into four pools of eight teams, with only four of the 32 participants qualifying through their national leagues.

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"We can't allow the traditional national leagues to suffer [as they are] watched by millions across Europe".

Yet Seifert said the DFL was "convinced" that Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin understood the importance of the domestic leagues, and would show "foresight" in the reform process.

Proposals, which would come into effect from 2024, include a promotion and relegation system, 24 out of 32 teams being guaranteed automatic qualification regardless of where they finished in their domestic leagues.

"In all discussions, two points are of crucial importance: the number of games in the football calendar and, above all, access to global competitions", said Seifert.

Only four places would be open to the winners of Europe's 54 national leagues.

"We're doing that ourselves together with our colleagues in the Premier League and the ECA (European Club Association)".

Fearing a loss of TV revenues for French football authorities and clubs, and an overcrowded match calendar, Le Graet said a closed-off Champions League would undermine the country's domestic championship.

"Any reform of the already very successful European club competitions would have to be satisfactory for all participants, not just a few", said Seifert.

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