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By Simon Stone
BBC Sport in Geneva
Europe five leagues have been warned their growing dominance of the continent’s soccer landscape will not be permitted to continue unchecked.
A two-day meeting of the European Colleges’ Association (ECA) in Geneva finished with chairman Andrea Agnelli talking of reforms being in place by 2022, rather than December 2019 as was the case before this year.
The sudden change of deadlines underlines the absence of advancement that has been produced by the ECA in talks over generating a wider degree of rivalry, more matches and higher income from Europe’s three major club contests, including the brand new Europa League 2, by 2024.
It is clear the clubs, particularly those from second-tier nations like Holland and Poland, regard the’big five’ – the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and also Ligue 1 – since significant barriers to the modifications being required.
“Uefa distributes cash to large, medium and small countries,” said Edwin van der Sar, the Ajax chief executive.
“The large five leagues collect cash from all around the world and keep it within their jurisdiction, plus they receive solidarity payments from Uefa. This is not sustainable.”
It’s known the Premier League’s major clubs – Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United – were all represented in the 169-member gathering in Switzerland and are not the object of the irritation of this ECA but the leagues themselves.
“You can see who’s investing and who’s protecting individual interests,” said HJK Helsinki chief executive Aki Riihilahti.
Suggestions for a Champions League comprising four groups of eight teams, with 14 games and needing to qualify, have been dropped.
Agnelli expects to have an alternate plan ready with the goal of using a format for European soccer consented by 2022.
It is probably the leagues will again be more than Agnelli, who’s also the chairman of both Juventus, forced a threat he was ready to move even if they don’t come on board.
“We won’t get beyond an 80% satisfaction rate,” he explained. “That is the point we get to so as to approve any motion at ECA.
“You’ll find some deadlocks and we must put together the many elements and concerns to discover a solution that suits the majority.
“There has to be a response by 2022 since that’s when Uefa head to market for the TV rights from 2024.”
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