June 5, 2019 / 7:47 AM / 19 days ago

Germany, England against Super League, says Rauball

(Reuters) - The top leagues in Germany and England are against the European Club Association’s (ECA) plans to form a ‘super league’ in 2024, German Football League (DFL) president Reinhard Rauball has said.

FILE PHOTO: Reinhard Rauball, president of German soccer league DFL (Deutsche Fussball Liga) gestures on the red carpet before the opening of the Hall of Fame, a permanent exhibition honouring German soccer legends at the German Football Museum in Dortmund, Germany, April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

The ECA is working with European soccer governing body UEFA on a proposal to redesign the Champions League and replace it with a competition featuring promotion and relegation that could be largely closed off to outsiders.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has already registered his opposition to the idea and Rauball told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that England and Germany were also against the proposal.

“I’m the president of the German league and president of Borussia Dortmund,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s FIFA congress in the French capital. “Our league, the Bundesliga, decided 100% that we don’t go this way with the ECA.

“(English FA representative) David Gill thinks in the same way. The German and British leagues are opposing it and I don’t think it is possible we’ll find a solution without Germany and without England.”

The ECA has said so far that talks are at an early stage and denied that the proposal will create a closed league.

Reuters reported last month that the ECA proposed to create a European league with three divisions, with promotion and relegation between each.

The top division will be the equivalent of the current Champions League and have 32 teams, of which 24 will qualify automatically for the following year’s competition with four more promoted from the second tier, currently the Europa League.

If the proposal is implemented, only four top division places will be open to the champions of Europe’s 54 domestic leagues, breaking with the longstanding tradition of teams qualifying for European competition via their domestic leagues.

Rauball described the plan as an American-style ‘closed shop’ that should be resisted.

“This is a typical American kind of competition, a kind of closed shop,” he said. “In Europe we have a traditional football pyramid.

“In Germany we have the league with the highest attendances (in Europe), more than 42,000 on average, and that has been developed step-by-step. So we don’t want to destroy it with one decision.

“We are traditionalists... We have to make clear that the national league is most important. If you make a pyramid like the ECA (has proposed), we would destroy all clubs and that’s dangerous.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings

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