Euro Leagues chief Olsson ‘tired’ of big club threats to break up football’s ecosystem

December 11 – The head of the umbrella organisation representing Europe’s domestic leagues has  launched yet another broadside against plans to revamp the Champions League saying his organisation is “tired” of threats about a breakaway super league.

European Leagues president Lars-Christer Olsson claims that UEFA showed his organisation plans that would result in the Champions League being reshaped to permanently include 24 of the richest clubs chosen based on “their ranking in their national leagues over the four previous seasons,” according to the Guardian newspaper. Only four qualifying places would be left for national champions competing in preliminary rounds under the new format starting in 2024.

“We are getting very tired of all the threats coming from a few rich clubs in football,” Olsson said in an end-of-year statement on the European Leagues website.

“Threats that they are going to break away from the football ecosystem as we know it and create their own private environment.”

In October, not for the first time. Olsson clashed with Andrea Agnelli, president of the European Clubs Association (ECA), over the way Europe’s top competitions should be run amid suggestions that the proposed new Champions League arrangements look dangerously like a closed shop.

“It’s a no-go area,”  Olsson later told reporters. “A closed league would be detrimental for media rights. I don’t believe it would generate more resources.”

“Some 20 associations have made proposals to UEFA … and those I have seen all say that (qualification) has to be on results in the domestic competitions. Plus, they are against promotion and relegation.  I can’t see a (final) decision before the autumn of 2020 and perhaps not until the spring of 2021.”

In his latest statement, Olsson said that the current pyramid system should remain intact.

“The dream is alive, for clubs and players, girls and boys, that one day they may reach a professional level and they can even make it all the way to the top,” he said.

“Professional club football is not a private business for a few where only the size of the pockets determines who is welcome. The solution is not a closed league at the top of the pyramid in Europe and certainly not a closed shop on top of the world where only a few of the richest clubs are invited.”

“If anybody does not want to be part of association football, it is of course their own decision. If they would like to create something private and closed, it should not be under the umbrella of association football and the way professional football is organised by associations and leagues.”

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