October 20, 2017 / 4:06 PM / a year ago

Rule changes needed to make Champions League more competitive - official

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - A reform of administrative rules and a fairer distribution of funds is required if European football’s main club competitions are to become more competitive, a senior official said on Friday.

Wrapping up the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) conference in Tel Aviv, president Lars-Christer Olsson also said he wanted to see a larger number of clubs challenging for the continent’s top prize.

“We would like to see 40-50 clubs vying for top honours in the Champions League, rather than the 10, or so, outfits currently in contention and we think that this is something that we can bring to the table,” he said.

Olsson argued that the dominance of a tight group of Europe’s richest clubs and their guaranteed future participation in the Champions League affords them a huge advantage at the expense of other, less wealthy clubs. In the past 20 years, Europe’s elite competition has been won by 10 different teams.

He also added that as well as a need to change the distribution of finances, competition rules also required reform.

The EPFL president is set to get a permanent seat on the UEFA Executive Committee from next year and Olsson, who was UEFA chief executive between 2003-2007, said he hopes he can influence decisions on behalf of Europe’s professional leagues.

“We have a catalogue of proposals that we would like to bring to the table to discussions with UEFA (on) how we can improve the situation,” the Swede added.

Among the EPFL’s issues to address included the way in which top clubs acquire promising young players and then loan them out to rivals. This reduced competitive credibility and was “totally devastating,” Olsson said.

Other proposals included a tighter control on “excessive” transfer fees, club ownership and the control of players by agents and teams.

While the Champions League format for the next three years is set, Olsson said he hoped to be able to distribute revenue from the Champions League to smaller clubs in the event that it nets higher than expected income.

The 67-year-old said there may be a chance to change the format for the 2021-2024 cycle, which was set by officials who are no longer serving and before current UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin took office.

“I think that there is a good chance to reopen the case for 21-24. If we are good enough to present our arguments, I’m quite sure that we will have the majority of the national associations on our side as they are the owners and members of UEFA,” Olsson said.

Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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