Juventus President Andrea Agnelli has back proposed plans to revamp the way clubs are entered into the Champions League by way of a new pyramid model that would benefit greatly to clubs such as Celtic and Ajax.
The way the Champions League is currently being run doesn’t help historical clubs that don’t play in Europe’s top fives leagues, clubs such as Celtic and Ajax who were once a major force in the competition and even winners, are forced to play three or four tough qualifiers while teams in England can finish second and third but go straight into the group stages.
Agnelli comes out with a valid point as he doesn’t see why top clubs from other nations like Scotland, Holland and Poland are being held back by other teams in their domestic leagues reducing the coefficient with poor performances in Europe.
But Agnelli – speaking at the Leaders Sports Business Summit in London – wants radical change to UEFA competition, something that will no doubt strike a chord with Parkhead CEO Peter Lawwell and Ajax chief Edwin van der Sar.
He said: “It’s right that if you perform in the international system, you stay in the international system.
“It would be great for clubs like Ajax, Celtic, (Legia) Warsaw knowing they can stay in Europe and not have to qualify via domestic system.”
He added: “We are not in politics – we do not have a government and an opposition, we are all on the same side.
“If we don’t think about a progressive system we are simply protecting a system which is no longer there.
“We are protecting a system made only of domestic games that will have little interest from our kids.”
The reforms Agnelli spoke about are intended to come into play from 2024. European football’s governing body UEFA is currently consulting with the ECA and European Leagues, which represents the interests of more than 30 domestic leagues across the Continent.
“I think people who oppose, when they justify (it) with rational arguments any aspect of the reforms,” he added.
“What’s healthy is people having a positive contribution. But ‘no, no, no’ as an answer, which we have heard from the leagues in the past couple of months, is not really healthy.
“Whatever changes are brought won’t bring much change for Real Madrid, Paris St Germain, however you play with it they will qualify.
“What’s important is creating a system where clubs can grow within a system and not just be relegated.”