Champions League: supporters contest reform for a powerful “handful of clubs”

Champions League
Groups of supporters denounced the reform in preparation for the Champions League.

This Friday, April 16, groups of supporters denounced the reform in preparation for the Champions League, imagined by and for a “handful of already immensely rich clubs”, in an open letter to ECA president Andrea Agnelli. This comes three days before a UEFA meeting on the subject.

The body chaired by Aleksander Ceferin, must unveil the format of the post-2024 C1 on Monday. The adoption of the reform is the subject of intense negotiations, in particular with the Association of European Clubs (ECA), a lobby of the big teams on the continent which is negotiating increased control of governance bodies.

“Your plan to restructure the Champions League, based on increasing the number of matches, introducing a qualification based on past results and the appropriation of the commercial rights of the competition, threatens the integrity of the ‘whole of our sport “, write supporters in an open letter to ECA President Andrea Agnelli. The signatory groups accuse the latter, also president of Juventus Turin, of wanting “widening the gap between the rich and the rest, destroying national calendars and demanding that supporters always sacrifice more time and money to follow their club”.

The club lobby seeks to “find new ways to bleed ourselves dry”, they say. “But we don’t have the time or the money to invest in your fantasies or fund your limitless greed.” The letter is co-signed by groups of supporters from clubs represented on the executive board of the European Association of Clubs (ECA). The Bad Gones de Lyon and the Collective Ultras Paris (CUP) are signatories on the French side, alongside collectives linked to Arsenal, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

For this group of supporters, the “unrealistic” reform envisaged and the “attempt to take control of European football” which is linked to it, will benefit “a handful of already immensely rich clubs, investment companies and sovereign funds, none of which has the legitimacy to appropriate the European future”. “We are the supporters of today, and we do not want more European matches”, they assure by demanding, conversely, “strong and competitive national leagues” and “a more equitable sharing of the wealth of football” among others.

With the new formula of the Champions League, open to 36 teams instead of 32, each team should play 10 matches against 10 different opponents. A formula synonymous with increased media exposure and therefore inflated TV rights, before switching to the knockout phase from the round of 16.

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