UEFA will open the door to the possibility of a Super League in the years to come unless it scraps plans to allocate Champions League spots on the basis of past European performances, a supporters chief has warned.
Two spots could be awarded in the redesigned competition from 2024 to teams with the best coefficient ranking based on their results in Europe over the last five seasons.
The two teams with the highest coefficient score finishing just outside of the regular Champions League qualifying spots would be eligible, according to refined proposals put to the members of the European Club Association by UEFA last month.
The UEFA Executive Committee will make a final decision on May 10th. But a year after 12 clubs announced they had formed their own Super League, fans have expressed concern that the big clubs’ interests still have too much influence at UEFA.
Football Supporters Europe chief executive Ronan Evain says the governing body must decide whether to placate Europe’s big clubs or play its role as regulator.
“There is obviously a contradiction between last year’s collective action (to block the Super League) and the protection of the European sporting model, sporting integrity and sporting merit and the principle of these coefficients,” he told the PA news agency on the one-year anniversary of the Super League starts.
“UEFA has to choose to placate big clubs and address their interests and concerns on the one hand and stay true to where they were last year. You can’t do both, it’s a choice between the two.”
UEFA’s Executive Committee approved a new 10-game format instead of the current six and two coefficient places at a meeting on April 19 hours previously completely overshadowed by the launch of the Super League.
The coefficient proposal has since been tweaked after concerns were raised by domestic leagues that teams could skip rivals with a lower European pedigree into the qualifying spots, but Evain is surprised that essentially the same proposals are now on the table despite Super League opponents confronted.
“Adopting exactly the same reforms as last year, or with some cosmetic changes, certainly doesn’t send the right message,” he said.
“The decision is still unclear and it’s not too late for UEFA to make the right decision. And from a sporting integrity point of view, removing the coefficient is the right decision.
“Domestic performance should be the sole criterion (for qualification).”
Asked if he could imagine supporters protesting the reforms if they were passed as they are currently presented, he said: “It’s hard to say. The risk of this reform is that it’s progressive, it opens the door to coefficient seats every now and then, god knows what happens in four years, that’s death by a thousand cuts.
“It’s been the strategy of the big clubs for years, little by little, gaining ground. We hope UEFA put a stop to that, so it’s definitely off the table.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/champions-league/champions-league-changes-could-pave-way-for-european-super-league-fans-group-41561225.html Changes in the Champions League could pave the way for the European Super League fan group