Shortly before the decision on the planned reform of the Champions League, even the supporters of the European top clubs who are considered to be profiteers are taking a stand against the extremely controversial innovations. In an open letter to the powerful European club association ECA and its president Andrea Agnelli, several fan groups describe the reform plans as “a serious threat to all of football”.
The signatories of the letter include fan clubs from Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Paris St. Germain, Manchester United and Ajax Amsterdam. The ECA is considered to be the “mastermind” of the reform, which will be decided on Monday by the Executive Committee of the European Football Union (UEFA) and which will apply from the 2024/25 season.
According to fan representatives, “the reform will widen the gap between the richest clubs and the rest of the football world”. This is unacceptable: “Such a blatant grab for power would be unacceptable under normal circumstances. At the height of a global pandemic, however, it is nothing more than the shameless exploitation of a crisis situation.”
The fans describe the plans as “fantasies” in order to “satisfy the insatiable greed of the ECA”. Therefore, the “ruthless reform plans” should be abandoned. Otherwise, the supporters threaten to withdraw: “At the end of the day, however, we are their business model. Contrary to some suspicions, there is no ‘fan of tomorrow’ who is already on the bench waiting to save their expansion plans.”
Numerous clubs had protested against the innovations before the fan groups. The plans envisage an increase in the Champions League from 32 to 36 teams. In addition, up to four starting places are to be allocated via a ten-year ranking list of the clubs. Traditional clubs that do not qualify through the league could still slip into the premier class thanks to the successes of the past few days. In addition, the number of games in the so-called “Swiss model” should increase again.
Champions League: Eintracht spokesman’s request to the UEFA executive
“My expectation of our representative in the UEFA executive is that he will do all he can to ensure that only sporting criteria enable qualification for European competitions,” Hellmann told im kicker In the direction of the DFB Vice-President: “Access via coefficients or wildcards make the sporting competition based on the performance idea ad absurdum and are the entry into a closed circle up to a separate Super League.”
The fan alliance “Our curve” joined the appeal to Koch. The group was disappointed that the DFB, DFL and the German members of the ECA did not position themselves at all or not clearly enough in the run-up to the decision.