European Leagues’ Olsson warns new CL format could ‘cannibalise’ domestic TV deals

February 19 – The president of the European Leagues Lars-Christer Olsson (pictured) has sounded a warning about the proposed Swiss model for the Champions League, saying extra European fixtures will ‘cannibalise’ domestic TV rights across the continent. 

The European governing body UEFA and various stakeholders have long been in talks over the changes to the format of the Champions League, the continent’s premier club competition, which will be implemented in 2024. At the moment it is believed the ‘Swiss model’ is the preferred option, but, while Olsson acknowledged it was an “innovative” model, he cautioned that the proposal will “cannibalise” domestic TV rights and thus severely impact clubs across Europe.

Olsson, who served as chief executive of UEFA between 2003 and 2007, was also sceptical of the idea that two additional clubs would qualify based on historic merit. He believes that a different shake-up is required that prioritises domestic champions over clubs from the top five European leagues.

“We want the champions of Scotland, Switzerland or Denmark, not the sixth place team in England or Spain,” said Olsson. “We think the three extra positions should be allocated in a way that more associations can be represented in the Champions League.

“It must not be given to one of the ‘Big Five’ associations.”

“We are also of the opinion that the so-called country cap of the Champions League should stay at maximum five teams from the same association.”

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