Bundesliga’s 32 clubs add voice to lobby against European club competition reforms

Christian Seifert

By Paul Nicholson

May 16 – The top two divisions of Germany’s Bundesliga have added their voices to the lobby rejecting the current reform proposals for international club competition.

The reform of club competitions has become a central issue for leagues and clubs who fear that the discussions will end up pushing the balance of power, qualification and money away from a broad-base of clubs and national leagues, towards a small number of elite clubs.

Over the past 10 days meetings in Spain, hosted by LaLiga and which were attended by more than 200 clubs, and later by the European Leagues association with UEFA in Switzerland, have expressed discontent with proposals to restructure European club competition.

At the ordinary assembly of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga, the 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 similarly have come out against the proposals that would being in 2024.

DFL CEO Christian Seifert said: “The presently discussed concept of the European Club Association (ECA) would have unacceptable consequences for the national leagues in Europe and should therefore not be implemented in this form. We must not allow, that the traditional national leagues are damaged in their attractiveness for millions of people across the continent.”

“We are convinced that UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin correctly assesses the value of the national leagues as the heart chamber of European professional football and will continue to moderate further proceedings in a foresightful manner. A possible reform of the already very successful European club competitions should be satisfactory for all participants, not just for a few,” Seifert continued.

“In all discussions, two points are of crucial importance: the number of games in the football calendar and, above all, access to international competitions. Changes to these must not jeopardize the relevance and future of the national leagues in Europe. This would sustainably damage the whole of European football – and that can never be in the interest of the UEFA.“

Reports are that the proposals will see three tiers of future European club competition, the top one being the equivalent of the current Champions League with 32 teams divided into four groups of eight rather than the current eight groups of four.

Twenty-four teams would qualify automatically for the following year’s competition with four more promoted from the second tier – currently the Europa League – and only four places open to champions of Europe’s 54 domestic leagues.

Spanish league president Javier Tebas has led the fight over the plans to overhaul the Champions League warning that the changes will seriously affect competitive balance in his country and beyond.

Although UEFA and the European Clubs Association insist no firm decisions have yet been made over the future format beyond 2024 – Ceferin have called for calm in the debate – it is widely being reported that a promotion and relegation system will be introduced and that weekends could also be used.

“The proposed plans for the Super League put LaLiga in serious jeopardy,” said Tebas. “It will change the entire way in which European football will work.”

“€500 million will go to those clubs who are competing in the competition and before we know it, there will be an unsalvageable disparity of wealth between the elite clubs and the rest.”

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