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Premier League clubs concerned over ‘unfeasible’ Champions League reform and fixture congestion
premier league clubs have major concerns that the plans to expand the champions league will lead to unfeasible fixture congestion and the potential for European matches to be staged on the same day as top division domestic games and that’s the information that’s been given to our senior reporter rob Dorsey.
who joins me now so look um what does this actually mean for the English clubs this bad news yes protect from what I’m being told from the executives I’ve been speaking to it is bad news I mean look remember we told you a few weeks ago um that there is outcry across European football clubs and European leagues as a whole generally about UEFA’s plans but specifically within the premier league?
the clubs outside the big six are really angry about this yeah um one senior executive told me that this was European super league light if you like and we know what all the issues were with regards to the European super league and it was the feeling was that this was uefa trying to bring some of those elements in
through their own competition the champions league now this latest concern is about fixture congestion okay um and there are simply not enough days in the week there aren’t enough gaps in the English calendar according to some of the executives that I’ve spoken to accommodate UEFA’s plans um at the moment there’s been an agreement between UEFA and premier league that they don’t play games on the same day
now we’ve seen that happen a little bit during the pandemic that they’ve had to okay but going forward there is a belief that this would be inevitable under UEFA’s plans and let’s show you some of the statistics we’re talking about here Vicky because uh as things stand at the moment look we have six group games in the champions league
which leads to a total of 125 champions league matches okay now have a look at this bottom one 10 group games because that’s what UEFA is proposing an extra four group games for every club that makes it to the champions league which leads to a hundred more games wow an 80 increase in the size of the champions league
it’s huge and that’s what I’m told the premier league are lobbying against behind the scenes and a number of clubs and the European leagues which is a powerful organization in their own right are lobbying against and they’re going for this middle ground they’re saying let’s compromise we accept that you want more games you wait for but instead of six that we’ve got now and instead of 10 let’s go for eight group games
which would lead to 189 champions league games in total throughout the season that’s a 50 increase on what we’ve got now we wait to see how UEFA responds to that and they’re still being lobbied very hard behind the scenes um but remember they’re having their exco meeting
a week today are we tomorrow actually it is the 10th now it is today a week today the 10th let me get my dates right a week today the 10th of May in Vienna their excel meeting and they will vote on this so in a week’s time we’ll know but you can see that a lot of clubs are up in arms about the other day I asked the question why are they doing this if it ain’t broke you know why are we fixing it well the experts have told me that it’s about finances and it’s about appeasing the bigger clubs they want to expand the champions league it’s already going from 32 clubs to 36 clubs remember all of these plans are from 2024 onwards and the idea is that if the bigger clubs are happier uh with the format of the champions league
they’re less likely to break away that’s what the altruistic side of uofa is trying to do to keep the integrity of their competition going but they also want to make money and the more games they have they believe the more money they will make although experts have told me that actually the more games you have dilutes
the quality might reduce might lead to some broadcasters actually bidding less to try and host the champions league because you don’t just get to cherry-pick the games you want you to have to show the lot so we wait to see I’m glad you would use the word cherry-picking because there’s a term wild card explain what’s going on there well this is what we revealed to you a couple of weeks ago isn’t it um the UEFA wild card system and this has been the most controversial the idea is that if one of the elite clubs in Europe doesn’t qualify for the champions league by its own domestic
it may be given one of two wild cards to play anyway on the basis that they’ve done well in the competition in the past history so they get a safety net and there is an awful lot of anger against that sounds very much like the super league because a lot of the clubs and the officials I’ve been speaking to say that goes against the idea of sporting integrity now three weeks ago when we reported it looked inevitable that it was going to happen UEFA were going to ratify
this and put it through the lobbying the amount of work the amount of noise that’s going been going on behind the scenes since we made that report a few weeks ago has been extraordinary I’m told UEFA is under huge pressure to drop this idea of wild cards and if it does it could lead to huge benefits for some of the smaller leagues in Europe who will take the benefit of an expanded champions league 36 teams instead of 32 and they may get automatic entry to the group stages of the champions league
now let’s have a look because who does that mean in the Scottish premiership of course it potentially means that’s a huge benefit to rangers and Celtic now not just those of course anybody who wins the Scottish premiership would benefit from this but not since 1985 if there’s anybody other than Rangers or Celtic won the Scottish premiership so these two like the idea in particular of these wild cards going and at the moment we found out yesterday that because UEFA has cracked down on Russian teams
they’re going to get automatic entry to the group stages of the champions league whoever wins the Scottish premiership title this season but we’re talking about what happens from 2024 onwards remember and if UEFA does drop this plan for wild cards it’s going to have a bigger competition but not but nobody making automatically you have to enjoy you have to qualify and it may well mean that Scott the Scottish premiership
which is currently on UEFA’s coefficient of ninth it’s the ninth strongest league in Europe as far as is concerned with these extra places it may well be that year on year from 2024 whoever wins the Scottish premiership gets into the champions league knockout stage into the group stages that’s huge potential for rangers and Celtic they very much like that idea so the Scottish premiership I understand has been lobbying UEFA behind the scenes
as well an awful lot still going on UEFA coming under increasing pressure here all the time to change its plans remember a week today we’ll find out Carvalho our chief reporter will be in Vienna for that hearing for the exco meeting that’s when we’ll finally get the answers to all of these issues I’d love to hear what Klopp and pep have to say about fixture congestion as well.