Plans for a European Super League has caused division between richer and poorer clubs, who are also divided on Fifa’s new Club World Cup that will be launched in 2021.
The European Club Association (ECA) has approved the initiation of talks to overhaul the Champions League from 2024 during its General Assembly in Amsterdam this Tuesday.
President of the ECA, Andrea Agnelli, did not want to give more details because they are “still in discussion", but confirmed there will be a change of format. One faction of the ECA wants the new-look Champions League to be played at the weekends and move the national leagues to mid-week. They propose that in the first phase, only fixtures from the quarterfinals to the final would be scheduled for weekend, before eventually moving the whole competition to Saturday and Sundays.
However representatives of Spanish clubs in Amsterdam said: "We have not talked about weekends, just a renewal of European competitions."
"A change to the league to Wednesdays has not been proposed,” said a representative from Malaga, Joaquín Jofre. “It's something that has not even been talked about," stated José Manuel Antón of Villarreal. Meanwhile, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, told AS: "We have been talking about the European competitions and about the Club World Cup.”
Europa League will be expanded next year
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who was also present at the meeting in Amsterdam, supports the plan for a European Super League made of the continent’s elite clubs. And in order to overcome the opposition of the rest of the European clubs that make the up the great majority, UEFA will launch an expansion of the Europa League, which from next season will have two divisions to accommodate more clubs in the second-tier European competition.
"But the big clubs will have their exclusive competition. And if they move it to the weekends the impact on the rest of more modest football and on the national leagues will be devastating," warned a representative from the European Leagues association.
The elite clubs, meanwhile, were unapologetic about their intentions, jointly affirming: "We defend our own interests... Our objectives do not coincide with those of the great majority, but we do not need their support to move the project forward.”
Clubs also divided on FIFA’s new Club World Cup
The ECA, divided between the richer and poorer clubs on the issue of the Super League (or the Super Champions League as Agnelli calls), is also divided with respect to Fifa’s new Club World Cup that will be launched in 2021.
Andrea Agnelli stated categorically that the clubs are against the tournament due to the potential saturation of the calendar, its direct competition with the Champions League and the interference of FIFA in club football.
However the biggest teams on the continent are in support of Fifa president Giovanni Infantino’s new tournament, among them Real Madrid. "The idea is good because it is a better tournament and it will be more profitable, Madrid strongly supports it," confirmed club sources.
The tournament is formally approved and has the support of five of the six Fifa confederations, all but UEFA. “The threat of boycott from European clubs will last as long as it takes for them to see the economic benefits that that new Club World Club will bring them,” Fifa representatives affirmed.
By his part, Fifa president Infantino told AS: "The first edition of the new Club World Cup will take place in 2021 and I am sure that it will be played by the biggest teams in the world, including Real Madrid, Atlético and Barcelona.”