The five biggest clubs in the Premier League admitted to meeting recently to discuss the proposed changes to the UEFA Champions League. The meeting comes on the heels of discussions across Europe about the future of the tournament, which include giving the biggest clubs guaranteed entry into the tournament, something that changes the odds for most online sportsbooks, but this is a story to keep an eye on as it unfolds.
The Premier League clubs denied reports of plans to create a European super league or replacing the Champions League, but club officials at Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City admitted that the clubs debated the Champions League format.
The admission by the clubs in an indication that a lot of changes are being discussed at all levels of European soccer because clubs are currently jockeying for position before they agree on the format for their next television contract in 2018.
One of the ideas proposed by some clubs is a system that would guarantee the entry of the biggest clubs in European football while allowing other teams to qualify.
A big reason for the proposal is the fact that a lot of the biggest clubs don’t get to face the best competition until the later stages of the tournament because other big clubs failed to qualify. It also provides some competition for some of the big clubs that don’t have any real challenges in their domestic leagues. Teams like Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Officials from the big clubs in England said that they meet on a regular basis, and in some cases a Tottenham Hotspur representative is also present. The officials said most of their discussions were about the ICC and an Arsenal representative publicly denied that the club is pushing for a new league.
The Arsenal representative said the club was strongly against any breakaway. The official also said the clubs at the meetings were not trying to make changes to the Premier League or start a super league. The Arsenal official said the clubs were discussing the ICC and formats the CL and other European competition that would complement the Premier League.
The team officials that were seen leaving the meeting were Chelsea’s Bruce Buck, Manchester City’s Ferran Soriano, Arsenal’s Ivan Gazidis, Liverpool’s Ian Ayre, and Manchester United’s Ed Woodward.
UEFA also announced that it was open to proposals for the future of its tournaments despite protests from clubs outside of England about the deep purses of Premier League clubs after the league signed an $8.7 billion deal.
Clubs in countries like Scotland, Netherlands, and Portugal are worried they would be frozen or will be at a disadvantage if the Champions League format changes and the biggest clubs from the top leagues are given automatic spots in the competition.
When asked to comment about the possibility of a super league, Gianni Infantino, the former UEFA General Secretary and new FIFA President said, “The Super League already exists. It’s called the Champions League.”