BERLIN: German football has reservations about the Nations League project which UEFA plans to launch in 2018 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The 54-member congress of the European federation gave the scheme its unanimous approval yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan.
UEFA’s own website reported the full-hearted support of German federation president Wolfgang Niersbach, who is chairman of the international association’s national teams competitions committee.
However, back in Germany, Niersbach was quoted as saying: “It was a long process and I do not deny that the DFB and also I personally have openly expressed concerns.
“Our concerns have not totally vanished but we accept and respect the fact that the majority of national associations wanted changes.”
German league president Reinhard Rauball went further, saying: “We were very surprised that this topic came up in Astana without formal notice on the advance agenda and that such a far-reaching decision was made.
“There should be no instant changes to the current balanced arrangement of club and national team competitions.”
Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp complained that “neither players nor coaches were asked for their opinions.”
However the project was given a cautious welcome by the European Club Association whose chairman is Karl-Heinz Rummenigge from Dortmund’s Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich.
A statement from ECA said: “The European clubs do not oppose such project, as the number of international matches in the calendar remains unchanged. Once more details concerning the competition format are available, ECA will analyse the possible impact on club football.”
Rummenigge added: “A positive aspect of this new concept is that our players will no longer have to travel around the world for friendly matches.
“I am not worried about [any financial effect on] the Champions League; it is a prime product and the Europa League as well will continue to flourish.”