European Leagues announce Champions League proposal
Last Updated: 06/09/19 4:45pm
Europe's top leagues have announced a Champions League proposal that rejects radical changes wanted by elite clubs.
UEFA have been working with the European Club Association (ECA) on a proposal to redesign the tournament from 2024, replacing it with a format featuring promotion and relegation that could largely turn it into a closed competition.
It would mean locking in 24 of the existing 32 Champions League places as well as having eight-team groups giving clubs 14 games each that would ultimately squeeze available dates for national leagues and cups.
However, the 29-nation European Leagues group says proposals include no new promotion or relegation between the Champions League and Europa League from 2024, and limiting teams to six group games.
They also state Champions League entries "must be based on qualification from the domestic competitions" except for the winner retaining its place.
Though mostly supporting the status quo, the leagues say they are "in favour of innovations [that] contribute to the growth of professional football as a whole and not just for a very few."
The leagues also want at least 49 of UEFA's 55 member federations to be sure of representation with one team or more across the three group stages (including the proposed 'Europa League 2' which will launch in 2021), helping retain appeal across Europe. This season, countries including Poland, Iceland and Finland no longer have any clubs involved even in the Europa League.
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Another proposition stated on Friday is raising the status of the fifth-ranked national league, currently France, to have the same UEFA entry rights as the top four of Spain, England, Italy and Germany. It would add one to France's six-team quota.
European Leagues also wants UEFA to stop using a ranking table of clubs' historical record in more than 60 years of European competition to allocate 30 per cent of Champions League prize money.
That formula, which the ECA pushed UEFA to agree to in 2016, steers money toward storied clubs. It will pay Real Madrid more than €35m (£31m) this season regardless of Champions League results.
UEFA's consultation on potential changes has so far stalled while clubs and leagues are far apart in their proposals.
A meeting between the leaders of UEFA, the ECA and European Leagues was to take place next week at the European soccer body's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. It was cancelled by UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, knocking back a realistic timetable to decide post-2024 changes potentially into 2021.
League officials are using the latest three-year review of the competitions by UEFA to push for what they say is a fairer distribution of prize money.
Total revenue from broadcasting and sponsorship sales for the Champions League, Europa League and season-opening Super Cup is currently €3.25 billion (£2.9 billion) each season.
The 32 Champions League clubs will share €1.95 billion (£1.75 billion) this season with that expected to rise in the next round of commercial sales for 2021-24 when UEFA launches its third club competition, currently called Europa League 2.
European Leagues want UEFA to withhold 20 per cent of total revenue and share it with other teams not playing in the group stage of the three competitions.