June 5 – French President Emmanuel Macron has angered European football chiefs by wading into the debate over UEFA’s proposals to overhaul the Champions League in 2024.
Macron reportedly urged UEFA to abandon the concept during an opening event for the Women’s World Cup that begins Friday and was delivered in front of UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin.
Ceferin told The Associated Press it was “clear interference of politics in sports.”
“During his speech he was mentioning UEFA and saying that we should be careful about changes of the Champions League and that solidarity is important,” Ceferin said. “The president’s speech … surprised us very much.”
The proposal to radically alter the Champions League has been met with fierce opposition by leagues across Europe including England, France and Germany.
French federation chief Noël Le Graët is among the critics but even he appears to believe Macron went too far by getting involved.
In welcoming delegates to the FIFA Congress in Paris, Le Graet, who has just been appointed to the FIFA Council as a UEFA representative, did not refer to Macron by name but told FIFA’s 211 nations: “UEFA can count on France to be a disciplined member and talk face-to-face about things we are less happy with.”
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