Aleksander Ceferin says that “players will have to take a pay cut” in fewer Champions League matches

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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin says ‘players will have to take a pay cut’ if they want fewer Champions League matches as the European chief says a new format is driven by hard-up clubs

  • UEFA recently announced an extension to the Champions League from 2024
  • With the move, 36 teams would compete for the trophy with 100 additional games
  • Players like Ilkay Gundogan claim the European schedule is already too busy
  • Ceferin claims fewer matches would mean less money for Europe’s biggest clubs

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin is open to the possibility of fewer matches in the new Champions League from 2024, but insists that this means less money for players for Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Ceferin, exclusively against The Mail on Sundays, says he will listen to all the critical voices about the Champions League expansion from 2024 – changes announced last Monday that were an attempt to prevent breakouts – but insisted on the drive for more games and expanding it. tournament up to 36 teams came from the clubs, which receive 93 percent of all the money generated by UEFA’s European competitions.

He also directly addressed points made by Klopp, Guardiola and Ilkay Gundogan last week, that the new proposals included too many matches and that UEFA was just as greedy as the clubs, insisting that the changes could still be changed and that he is happy with that. reduce the number of games.

Alexander Ceferin has admitted that he will be open to fewer Champions League matches from 2024

Alexander Ceferin has admitted that he will be open to fewer Champions League matches from 2024

UEFA has announced an expansion of their main competition to 36 teams and 100 additional games

UEFA has announced an expansion of their main competition to 36 teams and 100 additional games

UEFA has announced an expansion of their main competition to 36 teams and 100 additional games

“Some coaches and players said too many matches,” said Ceferin. ‘There can always be fewer matches, but the salaries of the players and coaches also have to adapt. You cannot generate less and more and earn more.

“I read some people who said,” We don’t want any more games. ” I think that’s fine, really. If the Champions League stays as it is, it will still be the best league in the world.

‘Our reforms have come about because clubs need help responding to the financial crisis. We can carry on as we are, but clubs will go out of business. And who does that hurt the most? Their fans.

So while I understand what some people are saying, I would ask them, “What’s your solution?” We believe that the reforms we are implementing will benefit everyone.

Figures such as Manchester City Ilkay Gundogan no longer want European matches at all

Figures such as Manchester City Ilkay Gundogan no longer want European matches at all

Figures such as Manchester City Ilkay Gundogan no longer want European matches at all

“But it has been clear to us that they are not completely set in stone, so if those people have better ideas that will secure both the future of football and ours, I will listen.”

UEFA’s main partner in driving the new changes has been the European Club Association, which represents Europe’s elite clubs in negotiations with UEFA and which counted Juventus president Andrea Agnelli as chairman and played a key role for Manchester United’s Ed Woodward. and Vinai Venkatesham from Arsenal.

They resigned those ECA positions last week, expecting they would no longer need that organization.

The only English clubs now listed as ECA members are Aston Villa, Leicester, Newcastle and Everton and the Big Six are now banned from any major commercial rights split decisions and whether the number of matches should be reduced.

Pep Guardiola (right) and Jurgen Klopp (left) complained this term about congestion in the fixture

Pep Guardiola (right) and Jurgen Klopp (left) complained this term about congestion in the fixture

Pep Guardiola (right) and Jurgen Klopp (left) complained this term about congestion in the fixture

Crucially, those six Premier League clubs are likely to lose the change that would have benefited them the most, which was the historic right to qualify for the Champions League for two teams, even if they finished outside the top four, with the two were chosen based on their choice. of their European record of the past five years.

That could have helped teams like Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool who may end up outside the top four this year.

Ceferin has pledged to re-join forces with the reformed ECA, now led by Paris Saint-Germain’s Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Ceferin will speak with the European Club Association now headed by PSG's Nasser Al-Khelafi

Ceferin will speak with the European Club Association now headed by PSG's Nasser Al-Khelafi

Ceferin will speak with the European Club Association now headed by PSG’s Nasser Al-Khelafi

“We can do whatever we want, but we will involve the real football community, we will speak to the ECA, the leagues as before,” he said. But UEFA distributes nearly 90 percent of all its money to federations and clubs, and in club football, UEFA accounts for 6.5 percent of the revenue generated – 93.5 percent is taken up by the clubs.

‘So if we want to help the clubs in a difficult financial situation now, we have to generate more. This system will generate much more. We are always ready to speak, but the problem is those clubs that went out now hustled, negotiated with us knowing they had all this time [Super League plans].

‘I had information yesterday that they were talking about this for three years and that is unbelievable. Three years and you negotiate with UEFA! ‘

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