FA has written to UEFA to object to its proposals to reform the Champions League


The Football Association has written to UEFA at the eleventh hour to object to plans for the reform of the Champions League, amid fears it could be devastating for English football and threaten the FA Cup.

Football’s European governing body is now set to decide on a new format for the money-spinning competition at its executive committee meeting, next week.

The meeting promises to be a showdown, with the FA and four other associations apparently lined up with the European Leagues Association, against the powerful European Club Association and the rest.

Under UEFA's proposals the Champions League would expand by four teams and 100 games

Under UEFA’s proposals the Champions League would expand by four teams and 100 games

UEFA’s plans for the Champions League, which will come into play from 2024, have been described as ‘devastating’ by Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish and the chairman of the EFL, Rick Parry, has warned they will have a ‘massive impact’ on the revenues of the lower leagues.

As reproted by Sportsmail yesterday, former FA chairman David Bersntein and his campaign group, Saving the Beautiful Game, believe if approved the proposals will widen the ‘obscene’ gap between rich clubs and the rest.  

The controversial plans include expanding the competition from 32 to 36 teams in a so-called Swiss Model, which will result in 100 additional matches.

Lars-Christer Olsson, president of the European Leagues, is leading the campaign to change the proposals for the competition, and UEFA is expected to make a decision next week

Lars-Christer Olsson, president of the European Leagues, is leading the campaign to change the proposals for the competition, and UEFA is expected to make a decision next week

UEFA and European Leagues Proposals for Champions League Reform
UEFA European Leagues
Increase teams from 32 to 36 Increase teams from 32 to 36
Of the four extra spots allocate:
-three using UEFA rankings
-one to fifth UEFA ranked country (France)
Of the four extra spots allocate:
-three to new champions of European l;eagues 
-one to fifth UEFA ranked country (France)
Increase group phase matches within
a ‘Swiss model’ from 6 to 10 
Increase group phase matches within
a Swiss model from 6 to 8 
Increase matchdays by four  Increase match days by two 
Increase total number of games by 100  Increase total number of games by 64 
No decision on revenue distribtion
until after format of the competition is
agreed 
Agree revenue distributuon at the
same time as the format of the
competition,including:
-increase  payments to non
participating clubs from 4% to 5%
-even up earnings between
UEFA’s European competitions

UEFA hopes to accommodate these extra games by commandeering four midweeks, exclusively for European football.

The matches and burden on the players will threaten the future of both the Carabao Cup and FA Cup it’s claimed, but the reforms are also widely expected to concentrate even more wealth among the biggest clubs undermining domestic competition.

In addition, UEFA is seeking to give protected access to the Champions League to a handful of the biggest clubs each year

To date, the FA has been quiet on the reforms.

Crystal Palace chairman, Steve Parish, led objections to the plans at a European meeting

Crystal Palace chairman, Steve Parish, led objections to the plans at a European meeting

However, on Friday, Lars-Christer Olsson, the president of the European Leagues Association, which represents 35 competitions across the continent, including the Premier League, revealed 10 associations had written to UEFA to object.

The English and Scottish FAs have both sent letters.

‘We have a number of associations that have written to UEFA to say they would like to see some adjustments,’ said Olsson.

‘Generally speaking, they are supporting the proposals of the European Leagues.’

Five of the associations that have objected to the supersized Champions League proposals sit on the UEFA Executive Committee, which will make its decision on March 31.

Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA, will chair the meeting when a decision is made

Aleksander Ceferin, president of UEFA, will chair the meeting when a decision is made

These associations are now expected to join forces with the European Leagues, which also has a seat on the committee, in objecting to the protected access to the competition and the number of exclusive weeks and matches.

‘As far as I am informed the associations are going to support our views,’ said Olsson.

However, there is no guarantee even the most unpopular aspects of UEFA’s plan will be overturned.

The executive committee, which is chaired by UEFA’s president Aleksander Ceferin, includes 16 member associations, plus two representatives from the European Club Association and one from the European Leagues.

Fan groups have raised concern that supporters do not want more European football

Fan groups have raised concern that supporters do not want more European football

The committee is due to decide the format of the competition, but not the revenue distribution model, which is another hugely controversial area.

The biggest clubs already benefit from a much larger share of the prize money.

Olsson admits it is hard to tell which way the conversation and vote will go at the UEFA meeting next week.

Plans to dramatically expand the Champions League would have a 'devastating' effect on English football, it is claimed

Plans to dramatically expand the Champions League would have a ‘devastating’ effect on English football, it is claimed

However, the leagues’ managing director, Jacco Swart, said his organisation’s views should carry weight since they represent 35 competitions and 300 clubs, which attended a consultation on the subject earlier this month.

At that event, Football Supporters Europe, a representative body from across the contitnent, spoke against expansion, saying fans wanted higher quality European football, not more of it. 

‘We think we represent the interests of many in European football.’ said Swart.

One of the most controversial aspects of the UEFA plan is access to the competition.

Under the proposals, clubs with a history of European success can be boosted from the Europa League into the far more lucrative Champions League.

Three of the four extra places would be allocated according to UEFA co-efficients, which would see three spots go to clubs with the highest Euorpean ranks. 

Two places would be reserved for the highest-ranking clubs that finish in a Europa position.

A further place would go to the highest-ranked club to win a European league, which does not have automatic group stage qualification to the Champions League. This is often Ajax.

The final place would be allocated to fifth ranked country, which is France.

The Champions League proposals have been broadly endorsed by the European Club Association.

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