President Macron criticize Champions League reform plans
4 June 2019
Macron meets FIFA and UEFA presidents at Elysee Palace. Opposition to UEFA-ECA plans.
“We have to defend our clubs and our model.”
Paris – As he hosts FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, and UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin, at the Elysee Palace, French president Emmanual Macron has added his voice to the mounting debate on the future of European Club competition.
The fight for control of international club competition currently pits FIFA in a four way battle with UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA) and European Leagues body.
Despite threats of a boycott from UEFA and European clubs, Infantino recently forced through a trial of an expanded 24 team Club World Cup, to be staged in 2021. But it is the mooted proposal of UEFA and the ECA to revise the Champions League with limited merit based places and guaranteed places for Europe’s biggest clubs that drew Macron’s criticism.
“I fully support [French Football Federation] FFF President Le Graët to go against the reform proposals planned by UEFA,” Macron told reporters at the FFF training centre at Clairefontaine, where he and his wife were having lunch with the French Women’s team.
Back the position of FFF President Le Graët
“I think we have to defend our clubs and our model. I think it is not a good idea to sacrifice the sustainability of our model for the benefit of a few top European clubs.
“It has often been reported that there was a lot of money in football and especially in men's football in recent years. Nevertheless, we have been able to defend a lot of clubs and we know how to defend ourselves.
“I do back the position of FFF President Le Graët to defend the French model and prevent reforms leading to the worst.
“In addition, I want to reassure all club's presidents, who I know are worried, that I do care about this matter and this is the message I will convey to FIFA and UEFA presidents who I will meet later today,“ said Macron.
Can be a ripple effect
Macron’s highly pointed comments ahead of the meeting comes as his country prepares to host the Women’s World Cup, which kicks off on Friday.
“1998 was a trigger for men's football because the competition was played at home. We thought there was a curse, that the World Cup was not for us ... I am convinced that this World Cup in France can have the same click effect for women's football,” said Brigitte Macron, the First Lady.
“There can be a ripple effect, which can reconcile everyone behind the colours, the nation and the jersey,” added the head of state.