European Leagues, the association which counts 35 professional football leagues in Europe as members, has said it will not allow Uefa to play club fixtures on weekends and rejects the idea that bigger clubs might be guaranteed places in European competitions.
Rumours have persisted that Uefa is planning to schedule more Champions League fixtures at weekends after the governing body held preliminary discussions with the European Club Association (ECA) regarding changes to its club competitions post-2024.
“We will always protect our weekends. We will not allow European club competition to be played at weekends,” European Leagues deputy general secretary Alberto Colombo told Reuters.
“The passion of football fans is driven by local football and by their tradition to go to the stadium with family and friends on Saturday and Sunday.”
Colombo also appeared to issue a response to recent comments by ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli indicating that Uefa and the ECA would discuss the possibility of introducing promotion and relegation in the Champions League.
“If you give the big clubs guaranteed places in Uefa club competitions and you destroy this model, it will devalue domestic football which drives the passion of fans,” Colombo said.
Uefa and the ECA have consistently denied Champions League weekend fixtures are up for discussion. Referring to a recent meeting between the ECA Executive Board and the Uefa Executive Committee, Agnelli said: “The word ‘weekend’ has never been used, so I don’t really understand where that is coming from. The word ‘weekend’ has never been used.”
Changes to European club competitions are likely to dominate proceedings when European Leagues holds its general assembly in Lisbon tomorrow. Spanish title AS indicates that Uefa president Aleksandr Čeferin has also called the European Leagues to a meeting in Switzerland on May 8 to discuss club competition reforms.