Agreement on a new “ideal” Champions League is imminent, according to the man who represents Europe’s biggest clubs, which may put pressure on the Premier League to reduce its fixture list in future if it is to benefit.
Andrea Agnelli, the chairman of the European Clubs Association, said on Monday he expects a reshaped Champions League to be agreed within weeks. The Juventus president wants an expanded competition to be just the start of wide-ranging reforms at the top of the game that could mean the overall number of domestic games in England is reduced and a ban on transfers between elite sides.
Uefa is expected to ratify plans for an expanded Champions League of 36 teams, with each club playing 10 group matches in a “Swiss system” that would see them ranked in a single league table. This would bring an end to recurring rumours of a breakaway Super League, something Agnelli says he has always been keen to avoid.
“I think we’re very close to my ideal Champions League, I think the Swiss system is beautiful,” he said. “I think it will provide great opportunities for those teams participating in that competition. It will provide the knockouts that are the essence of any competition. It’s very, very close to an ideal Champions League. We’re maybe just a couple of weeks away.
“My attention for quite a long time has been to make sure we find a solution with Uefa. We had fights with Alex [Uefa’s president, Alexander Ceferin] in the autumn months because we wanted to find the balance between continental and domestic competition. It’s [about] having a balanced competitive landscape.”
Agnelli, whose organisation represents 246 clubs across Europe including nine in the Premier League, says he wants the domestic calendar to take up only two thirds of any season. The Premier League have pushed back against the new Champions League proposals due to their effects on the calendar but Agnelli believes it is the larger domestic competitions, such as the English top flight, that will eventually have to compromise. Continue reading