French and German football clubs have stated their opposition to proposed reform plans for European competitions that would effectively transform the Champions League into a closed-off event for elite teams.
The announcements came following assembly meetings of the German Football League (DFL) and French Football League (LFP) yesterday (Wednesday). The meetings followed further revelations regarding the future of the Champions League last week.
Leaked documents indicate Uefa is considering proposals to restructure the Champions League as a semi-closed competition from 2024 onwards. The proposal is centred on the premise that 24 of the 32 teams taking part in the group stages of the reformatted competition would retain their places the next year, regardless of their standings in their domestic leagues.
Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin had earlier maintained that reports regarding the future make-up of European football’s elite club competitions remain speculative after the latest round of meetings concerning the likes of the Champions League.
While the LFP yesterday issued a short statement outlining its opposition, the DFL was more forthright in its criticism. The union of the 36 clubs of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga said it rejects the current reform proposals.
DFL chief executive Christian Seifert said: “The presently discussed concept of the European Club Association (ECA) would have unacceptable consequences for the national leagues in Europe and should therefore not be implemented in this form. We must not allow, that the traditional national leagues are damaged in their attractiveness for millions of people across the continent.
“We are convinced that Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin correctly assesses the value of the national leagues as the heart chamber of European professional football and will continue to moderate further proceedings with foresight. A possible reform of the already very successful European club competitions should be satisfactory for all participants, not just for a few.”
Seifert continued: “In all discussions, two points are of crucial importance: the number of games in the football calendar and, above all, access to international competitions. Changes to these must not jeopardise the relevance and future of the national leagues in Europe. This would sustainably damage the whole of European football – and that can never be in the interest of Uefa.”
The ECA’s ordinary membership includes Bundesliga powerhouses Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as well as French Ligue 1 duo Paris Saint-Germain and Olympique Lyonnais. The LFP said its ordinary assembly made 32 votes against the reform proposals, with three unnamed abstentions.
The LFP said in a statement: “French football is worried about the sporting and economic consequences of the current project for the national championships. In addition, French football has unanimously decided to present Uefa with an alternative proposal in the coming days.”