May 7 – Europe’s major leagues are set to meet with UEFA officials in Switzerland on Wednesday in the latest talks over radical plans to overhaul the format of the Champions League post-2024.
The summit has been timed to follow today’s crucial meeting of the European Leagues, the umbrella body for domestic leagues across the Continent, in Madrid.
According to agency reports some 900 clubs have been invited to the Spanish capital for today’s session though far fewer were expected to take part in the discussions which will focus in large part on the threat of a closed league that, according to Europe’s leagues, could seriously undermine the status quo of domestic leagues as well as adversely affect the competitive hopes of scores of smaller clubs.
One of the topics of discussion in Madrid today is titled ‘A de facto closed league for elite clubs’, which the leagues fear will be the outcome of ongoing talks between UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA).
Bundesliga chief Christian Seifert is one of those who has already opposed the plans, saying playing European games at the weekend – one of the ideas being mooted – is a “red line” which must not be crossed.
Following today’s meeting, European Leagues representatives will fly straight to Switzerland to sit round the table with officials from UEFA’s executive committee, with no ECA members in attendance, in theory to simply exchange ideas but in practise to state their growing concerns about the entire Champions League project.
The European Leagues’ normally mild-mannered president Lars-Christer Olson (pictured) has already lambasted ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli’s call for clubs to boycott today’s Madrid session.
“I believe that our member leagues and their member clubs are grown up enough to make their own judgements without getting ‘orders’ from the ECA-President,” Olsson charged last month as the rift escalated.
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