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Potential Champions League changes would not harm European football – Ceferin

12:39 AM WAT 18/05/2019
Ceferin - cropped
Proposed changes to UEFA's flagship club competition would not impact the league games of its member associations, says Aleksander Ceferin.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has vowed that planned changes to club competitions, including the Champions League, will not harm European football.

Changes, including the introduction of a third European competition, are set to be introduced by UEFA after 2024, with a reformation of the Champions League also being discussed.

A proposal by Juventus chief executive Andrea Agnelli for 24 of the 32 Champions League teams to automatically retain their places in the competition has been met with strong opposition, as the new format would involve expanded eight-team groups, meaning fixtures would be played on weekends.

But Ceferin has promised UEFA will not play club competition matches that would disrupt domestic league fixtures.

"This was an important meeting with our member associations to get their views on how our club competitions should be designed in the future," Ceferin said after meeting the presidents and general secretaries of the 55 member associations of UEFA in Budapest.

"There were many different opinions expressed and we will feed these into our thinking on this issue.

"I was encouraged by the positive response to the consultation process and by the solidarity among associations.

"I was happy to repeat our commitment not to play UEFA club competition matches at weekends, with the exception of the Champions League Final.

"The consultation process is ongoing and we look forward to receiving the thoughts of other stakeholders directly, rather than having to piece them together from media statements.

"We will not decide anything without taking everyone's views into account.  We would never accept changes that would harm European football."

The latest changes come just months after controversial plans to create a European Super League were leaked. 

Under such plans, a league consisting of Europe's elite clubs would be formed, with promotion and relegation included. Five English teams were said to be part of dicussions, including Manchester United, their cross-town rivals City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal.

All clubs said to have been invovled in apparent meetings denied the claims. 

Agnelli and Cerefin's latest comments, however, highlight the complications surrounding changes to European club football, with leagues and fans desperate to preserve domestic competitions.