Clubs say new Champions League fairer and more lucrative

Tue Sep 6, 2016 10:24am EDT
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By Brian Homewood

GENEVA (Reuters) - European clubs are anticipating another windfall after changes to the Champions League and say the new system will be fairer as well as making them richer.

The European Clubs Association (ECA) said it expected revenue from the Champions League and Europa League to jump from 2.35 billion euros ($2.62 billion) per season to around 3 billion euros from 2018-19, when the changes, announced by UEFA last month, come into force.

ECA chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge also ruled out talk of a breakaway Super League in the foreseeable future, saying the clubs wanted to remain united.

European soccer body UEFA has rearranged the slots in the lucrative Champions League group stage in favor of its four top-ranked leagues, guaranteeing them four places each.

It also announced changes in the distribution of revenue among clubs, with more emphasis on their historic sporting results and less on the value of their television market.

The changes left UEFA open to criticism that they had acted in favor of the biggest clubs, thus only increasing the gap between the most powerful and the rest.

But Rummenigge said on Tuesday that the changes, which will apply to European competitions from 2018 to 2021, represented "a good compromise."

"I believe there are no winners and no losers. The new concept is not a revolution, it's just an evolution, and I'm convinced that everyone will benefit," he said.   Continued...

European Club Association (ECA) Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge arrives for a news conference after ECA's 17th General Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, September 6, 2016.  REUTERS/Denis Balibouse