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Serie A clubs rally against Agnelli’s Champions League cause

European Club Association (ECA) chairman and Juventus president, Andrea Agnelli, has seen his support of Uefa’s proposed reform of the Champions League suffer a heavy blow at home, with three quarters of Serie A’s 20 teams reportedly opposing the plans.

The development comes following a meeting of Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, with multiple reports in the Italian media stating 15 clubs voted in favour of a measure opposing the proposals, stating that such change threatens the future of European football as they “alter and seriously damage” the competitiveness of the national championships.

Agnelli was elected to lead the ECA in September 2017, and the reports claim that Juventus was the only club to oppose the Lega’s stance against the changes, with AS Roma, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Fiorentina abstaining from the vote.

The development comes after Agnelli last week accused Europe’s top five leagues of ‘protectionism’ in opposing plans to reform Uefa club competitions post-2024 and disputed suggestions that any reforms could damage the value of their media rights.

Speaking at the ECA’s Special General Assembly 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.

At yesterday’s (Monday’s) meeting, Lega Serie A president, Gaetano Miccichè, outlined the impact that his organisation believes the Uefa reforms would have on Serie A. “There would be a great loss of value of the championship, from 35 per cent to 70 per cent,” Miccichè said, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

“It means that if we have sold the last Italian and foreign TV rights for over €1bn ($1.13bn), with the reform we risk starving Italian football by the exclusion of those who participate in the cups. (Napoli president Aurelio) De Laurentiis, (Torino president Urbano) Cairo and (SS Lazio president Claudio) Lotito expressed themselves against the reform, while Andrea Agnelli told us that the project is not definitive and clear, but has advanced the thesis that there is a desire to change.”

Cairo was one of the most forthright voices against the mooted Uefa reforms. He said: “The whole Lega Serie A is very much against this evolution of European competitions. The proposal of ECA and Uefa does not represent the interests of the clubs, or the public opinion accustomed to a certain type of championship that allows you to arrive in Europe.

“This is the history of football over the last 60 years. It is a very long story that cannot be cancelled with one stroke only because it is good for business. It is not fair and we have seen how the Premier League, Ligue 1, the Spanish Liga, the Bundesliga and today also the Serie A have expressed themselves in a totally negative way. This new competition does not go in the direction that the fans would like and it would be a wrong thing in terms of meritocracy.

“ECA and Uefa must meditate on how all the leagues are coalescing against a project that nobody likes. What do I mean? This proposal must be withdrawn. And I stop here, but others have gone further.”

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