GENEVA: Europe’s leading clubs remain trapped in their own discussions about the shape and stricture of the continent’s club competition from 2024.
UEFA, the European governing body, would like to make a decision on reform until next year. However the European Club Association, which shares organisational responsibility, is divided on what it wants.
Initially the big clubs from Spain and Italy wanted an expanded group stage with virtually automatic access for themselves. However the midrange majority of clubs have insisted that obtaining a wider and more equable distribution of the revenues should take priority.
“The proposals were a frontal attack on domestic leagues. In the short-term, those changes would only benefit the big clubs. But if you look very closely in the medium to long-term, it would’ve also damaged the big clubs. It explains why the big clubs in England are against it.
“The problem in European football is not with the format of competitions. It’s a problem with the economic distribution. As a big European league, we are ready to sit down and talk.”
Agnelli put the best gloss he could on the stalled talks, insisting that the real deadline was not until 2022, thus giving clubs more time to reach an agreement.
He said: “We know we have to find an answer by 2022. That is when they [UEFA] go to market in terms of selling commercial rights of whatever competition there will be. So the real deadline if you want is 2022, but hopefully you will not need all that time.”