PREMIER LEAGUE clubs have vowed to crush plans to turn the Champions League into a closed shop for Europe’s elite.
In a stunning rebuff to Juventus boss Andrea Agnelli, who drafted the proposed changes, the 20 top flight sides including the Big Six stood united in a show of defiance.
The plans, which would see the stable doors locked shut behind the big clubs across Europe from 2024, dominated debate at yesterday’s Prem summer meeting in Harrogate.
And in a strongly worded statement which will be followed up in person at today’s meeting of the European Clubs Association in Malta, the top flight outfits slammed Agnelli’s proposals.
The statement said: “The Premier League and our clubs unanimously reaffirmed our strong opposition to the proposed reform of UEFA club competitions from 2024.
“These would alter the structure, calendar and competitiveness of league football.
“We believe the proposals – particularly the suggested format and qualification criteria – would be detrimental to domestic leagues across the continent.”
The statement added: “There was unanimous agreement that the domestic game should continue to be the priority for professional clubs, and any changes to the football calendar must respect the requirements of domestic competitions.
“Critically, qualification for the Champions League and the Europa League must continue to depend on current domestic performance.
“The clubs have asked the Premier League to now work with UEFA, fans and other stakeholders across Europe, to identify constructive proposals which improve European club competitions without harming domestic football.
“Premier League clubs will represent these views at the European Club Association meeting in Malta.”
Most read in football
Champions League finalists Liverpool and Spurs are among the nine English members of the ECA, with the two Manchester giants, Chelsea and Arsenal also joined by Everton, Leicester and Newcastle.
The nine are set to attempt to kibosh any talk of the Agnelli model being adopted.
Their aggressive stance comes as seven Spanish clubs, including Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Valencia, wrote a joint letter to Agnelli branding his plans “unacceptable” and “a frontal attack” on European football.