September 5 – European club football may now have a voice at UEFA’s top table but that hasn’t prevented UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin warning that the gap between the haves and the have-nots remains the most challenging issue facing the sport.
The issue came to a head last year when UEFA, with the European Club Association’s (ECA) backing, introduced changes to the Champions League which will reduce the number of group stage slots allocated to teams from Europe’s smaller leagues.
“Let’s put our cards on the table and be honest with ourselves: the biggest challenge over the next few years will be ‘competitive balance’,” Ceferin told the ECA’s general assembly in Geneva.
“How can we continue to develop football in Europe and avoid widening the huge gulf between the most powerful and the rest? That is the million-dollar question.
“I am a pragmatist; I am open to any practical suggestion that might benefit European football,” he added.
Ceferin has made no secret of the fact that some kind of salary cap may have to be introduced to bring sanity to the market, an issue that could be discussed by Uefa’s executive committee later this month.
The Slovenian says he has talked to ECA officials “about ideas such as salary caps, luxury tax, squad limits and even reforming the transfer system” during the last few months.
“If this is the direction we must take, we will,” he added.
Days after UEFA announced they were investigating Paris St Germain’s bubble-bursting transfer spending, Ceferin said the credibility of his organisation “rests on us ensuring that the rules that are in force are respected. Nobody is above the law.”
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