Premier League: “Significant Concerns” about Euro Super League

5 April 2019

premier league warn against changes in European competitions
Photo: Getty Images “In England, football plays an important role in our culture and everyday life,” said today’s Premier League statement on concerns of changes in the format and qualification criteria of UEFA competitions from 2024.

Clubs vow to “protect” the Premier League amidst UEFA’s “inappropriate” plans for competition changes.

European Leagues vows to fight growing disparities in football.

900 clubs to meet in Madrid in May to discuss UEFA’s club reforms.

James Corbett corbett@offthepitch.com

The Premier League has expressed its “significant concerns” about reported proposals to change the format and qualification criteria of UEFA competitions from 2024.

Following an EPL shareholders meeting in London today, the 20 Premier League clubs took the rare step of issuing a joint statement condemning “inappropriate” plans to change the structure of UEFA competition while vowing “to work together to protect the Premier League”.

UEFA’s reforms centre on protecting the positions of elite clubs and imposing further barriers for entry for teams from outside of Europe’s “big five” leagues. Under one proposal understood to be under consideration, access to the Champions League would be severely restricted from 2024/25, with as few as eight of 32 participants allowed to earn their places through domestic success. Schedule changes that will switch some European games to weekends have also been mooted.

Red line

For the Premier League, which has lucrative broadcast contracts in Asia and North America, and whose success depends on weekend audiences, such ideas have already met opposition.

The CEO of Germany’s Bundesliga has also expressed his hostility to proposals, describing weekend Champions League matches as a “red line”.

Pointing that the top 12 professional clubs earn 39% of all European football revenues, while 600 clubs share out the balance.

“In England, football plays an important role in our culture and everyday life,” said today’s Premier League statement.

“Millions of fans attend matches across the country, with allegiances and local rivalries often passed down through generations. We have a fantastic combination of competitive football and committed fans that we will vigorously defend.

“The structures of domestic football are determined by leagues and their respective national associations. We will now work with the FA and other leagues to ensure that European football bodies understand the importance of this, and their obligation to maintain the health and sustainability of domestic league football.”

The Premier League were not the only representative body debating the implications of UEFA’s planned restructure of European Club competition.

"Definitely been negative"

In Lisbon the European Leagues, an umbrella group that brings together 35 professional football leagues representing more than 900 clubs in 28 countries across Europe, held its general assembly where UEFA Club competitions topped the agenda.

Following the meeting, the European Leagues chairman Lars-Christer Olsson spoke of “fruitful and good conversations” between its members and of their concerns about the rising financial disparities in European football. Developments of the last 10 years, he said, “had definitely been negative.”

Pointing that the top 12 professional clubs earn 39% of all European football revenues, while 600 clubs share out the balance, Olsson said that there must be further attempts to share football’s wealth rather than enforcing the status quo.

Safeguard and protect

He said that that the European Leagues had resolved to be more accessible to clubs to give them a platform to discuss developments internationally. A further meeting has been convened by the European Leagues in Madrid next month, at which 900 European clubs would be invited.

They are much more important than international competitions.

That session comes ahead of a meeting between the European Leagues and the UEFA executive committee in Nyon on 8 May.

“Our main objective is to safeguard and protect the domestic competitions,” said Olsson.

“We think they are the most important part of football, the game’s skeleton. They are much more important than international competitions.”