NYON: The European football leagues’ association has followed the Danish federation in issuing a roar of frustrated anger over the Champions League coup achieved a fortnight ago by the European Club Assoication writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The issue, which has played strongly into the hands of Slovenia’s Aleksander Ceferin in his bid to win the UEFA presidency next week, concerns the new 2018-21 share-out of commercial revenues from the European federation’s club competitions and the new, separate administrative structure.
ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisted this week that the deal ruled out any prospect of a ‘super league’ but most middle-ranking and small FAs and smaller clubs believe it has achieved precisely that, not so much through the back door as through the front door.
A statement said: “This decision will have a detrimental impact on domestic competitions and will lead to an exponential growth in the financial and sporting gap between the biggest clubs in Europe and all the others.
“As a result of the decision taken by UEFA, the EPFL believes that UEFA has breached the Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.”
The EPFL suggested that such a breach would leave domestic leagues feeling free to schedule matches on UEFA competition days though the strength of Champions League TV ratings suggests this may be something of an empty threat,
The statement urged UEFA’s new president – either Ceferin of Dutchman Michael Van Praag – to review an agreement clearly rushed into place to take such a contentious issue out of the political arena.
Earlier this week the Danish federation issued its own angry response to the deal on the eve of meetings in Copenhagen between the Nordic FAs’ chairmen with Ceferin and Van Praag.
The DVBU said: “[The new deal] is is a structure that favors the biggest clubs in the major leagues at that four clubs from the top four leagues in the future are automatically qualified for the group stage of the Champions League, while clubs in all other leagues have impaired their chances of qualification. The decision of one new structure is detrimental to the Danish and European football.”
Danish league president Claus Thomsen said: “The process has been wrong, the result is wrong. A fundamental change has been rushed through by UEFA and ECA, although a new UEFA president is being in less than two weeks’ time, so there is no elected leadership in place.”
Thomsen, also vice chairman of EPFL, added: “The process reflects a change that initially moves massive funds to the 20 biggest clubs in Europe . . . It hurts all national tournaments.”
DBU chairman Jesper Møller said: “I am very dissatisfied with the decision which is both unsatisfactory and unacceptable. The decision is made in a way that is completely out of step with proper and democratic governance and the result is that UEFA has handed too much power to the richest clubs in Europe. It is harmful for the development of football throughout Europe and also very much in Denmark.