Divided ECA could force Champions League reform back to the drawing board

September 10 – In a blow to Europe’s super clubs, plans for a future reformatted, semi-closed Champions League competition now seem to have been thwarted by an alliance of leagues and smaller clubs across the continent.

To appease Europe’s top clubs and nip the danger of a breakaway European super league in the bud, UEFA proposed a 32-team Champions League with 24 clubs having a guaranteed entry, incorporated in a larger three-tier pan European league with promotion and relegation between the divisions.

However, European Club Association (ECA) president Andrea Agnelli now looks to have acknowledged that those plans might be scuppered after widespread division and opposition among his own association’s membership.

“We have different views on formats and the stability principles,” said Agnelli, according to a Twitter posting by the ECA. “There is an overall acceptance that reform must happen in 2024-25.”

The European governing body have worked alongside the ECA on reform of European club competition from 2024 onwards, but in the last few months talks have stalled and UEFA and the ECA may well have to go back to the drawing board to push ahead with reform after leagues outside Europe’s top five agreed to disagree.

Those leagues contend that the annual battle for Champions League tickets is key to their competitions. Last June, a number of ECA members had already broken rank and come out with criticism of the proposal. That same month the 20 English top flight clubs also condemned the plan, deeming it “inappropriate”.

Other clubs have however stepped in with proposals of their own. Danish champions FC Copenhagen wants to determine allocation based on the historical record of a club over the last decade and not just where a club finishes in its domestic league.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1569033447labto1569033447ofdlr1569033447owedi1569033447sni@o1569033447fni1569033447