Leagues body fights its corner to protect "heart and soul" of European football
https://offthepitch.com/a/leagues-body- ... n-football
The European Leagues' vice president, Claus Thomsen, tells offthepitch.com that UEFA and European Club Association proposals for reform would create a closed franchise.
Claus Thomsen calls for UEFA and ECA to listen to the leagues' proposals and act quickly to address revenue distribution for the 2021-24 cycle.
"What the ECA proposed was a closed franchise in the Champions League, four places to play for, promotion and relegation. That's no longer the European football pyramid, that's just a franchise competing with the national tournaments, taking value out of the national competitions," he added.
Domestic leagues outline concerns
UEFA's bid to restructure its club competitions from 2024 onwards has stalled in recent weeks. Its first set of proposals, developed in partnership with the ECA and based around a three-tier European league system, is struggling to win support in the face of huge opposition from Europe's five biggest domestic leagues.
The Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Ligue 1 made plain their concerns earlier this year when ECA proposals first surfaced, arguing that more lucrative European matches would jeopardise their core product, disrupt the domestic calendar and hit revenues.
The initial UEFA and ECA proposal envisaged a new Champions League, Europa League and a Europa League 2. One idea was to have four groups of eight in the group stage of the Champions League, including a promotion and relegation mechanism. The ECA claims the plan will allow greater access to European competition for the continent's smaller clubs.
"Support Your Leagues" initiative
Last month, the European Leagues, which represents 36 professional football leagues comprising more than 950 clubs in 29 countries, set out its vision to reshape European club competitions, acknowledging the need for reforms to grow the game and improve the competitive balance of leagues and international club competitions.
Built around the principles of protecting domestic leagues, increasing participation and a fairer financial distribution, its "Support Your Leagues" online platform was a rallying cry to supporters' groups across Europe, encouraging them to contribute to the debate.
The platform includes a European Leagues proposal for a fairer revenue distribution model for the 2021-24 UEFA club competitions. The leagues are strongly opposed to the introduction of more match days than those envisaged in the current UEFA club competitions - and against scheduling games during weekends.