European Club Association (ECA) chairman Andrea Agnelli has accused Europe’s top 5 leagues of ‘protectionism’ in opposing plans to reform Uefa club competitions (UCC) post-2024 and disputed suggestions that any reforms could damage the value of their media rights.
Speaking at the ECA’s Special General Assembly Agnelli in Malta, Agnelli focused on the findings of a recent KPMG report which argued that LaLiga’s media revenues could drop by as much as 41.5 per cent if the reforms go through. The report argued that plans to make European qualification less dependent on performance in domestic leagues would diminish interest in these competitions.
Agnelli said the report in question was based on false assumptions and offered to conduct a joint study with the leagues to determine the impact of any reforms.
“Given shift in value [of media rights] is a potential concern for those leagues that have the greater broadcasting revenues, we can set up a joint study group to define what the impact would be,” he said.
Agnelli predicted that the ECA and different stakeholders would develop a new format for Uefa competitions that would be satisfactory to “70 to 80 per cent of the constituency” and referred to Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward in his summary of the discussions at the assembly so far.
“The most expert figure within our board is Ed Woodward and yesterday he was very clear in specifying that if we are good in finding the right balance, we can go and hit a growth in the market without any detriment to the leagues. But we will have to find a very good balance in doing that and that is evidently the objective we all have.”
However, subsequent to Agnelli’s statement, several clubs have publicly declared that there is widespread opposition to the proposed UCC reforms.
Reuters reports that Schalke 04 chief executive Peter Peters said, “nearly all European clubs are not convinced” about the proposals, while Lazio president Claudio Lotito is reported as saying ‘most’ Italian clubs were against the plans.
The thoughts of the top six English Premier League clubs that attended the meeting were not placed on the record, although the BBC reports that they are taking a unified stance against the ECA’s proposals because they would be detrimental to their domestic competition.