Premier League clubs have reportedly helped to foil a proposal to make revolutionary changes to the Champions League.
UEFA has been working with the European Club Association (ECA) to make significant changes to Europe’s top club competitions from 2024 onwards.
The initial proposal looked at the introduction of a three-tiered system featuring 128 teams as well as promotion and relegation between the divisions.
It also envisaged a more exclusive Champions League which would see 24 of the 32 teams taking part guaranteed places in the competition for the following season, regardless of how they performed in their domestic competitions.
The new top-tier tournament would also feature four groups of eight, meaning that all teams would have to play 14 group-stage matches before reaching the knockout rounds, which could have impacted domestic competitions.
However, that proposal was met with strong opposition from clubs across Europe and reports on Monday indicated that European clubs were now looking at other options following the ECA general assembly in Geneva.
English clubs have criticised the proposal since its introduction and the Sun reports that Manchester United and Chelsea chiefs Ed Woodward and Bruce Buck led a delegation of Premier League teams at the meeting.
According to the publication, they warned that the only viable way to play all matches put forward by the expanded groups would be to pull out of one of the domestic cups – with the League Cup believed to be most likely.
It is claimed that the exclusion of those clubs could have serious consequences for both the future of competition and the EFL clubs who take part in it.
“There’s no agreement about any plans,” a senior club chief reportedly told the Sun.
“None of the ideas on the table are acceptable.
“We all want more money and there is an acceptance that things will have to change.
“But the plans do not have any real support so they have to go away and think again.”
It appears that the concerns voiced by Premier League clubs, as well as several other teams across Europe following an ECA meeting in Malta in June, have been noted by the ECA, with suggestions that the current proposal could be dropped in favour of finding alternatives.
ECA and Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli also appeared to indicate that the original plan could be dropped in a speech during Monday’s meeting.
“The feeling before Malta was that everything was written in stone. You’ve all seen it’s not like this,” Agnelli was quoted as telling the meeting on the organisation’s Twitter account .
“It’s been great seeing the participation of many clubs in sharing consultation in the past couple of months. This was the start of a genuine, open and transparent process.”
“We have different views on formats and the stability principles. We have issues on the calendar. I understand that — but there is an overall acceptance that reform must happen in 2024-25.”