London (AFP) – Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli has called for Europe’s historic superpowers to be protected from the damage caused by “one bad season”.
In his role as chairman of the European Club Association, Agnelli has made it clear the structure of continental competitions should be tweaked to give the big guns an increased chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
The Italian questioned the fairness of the current system at the Financial Times Business of Football Summit in London on Thursday.
He used the example of Atalanta qualifying for the Champions League after finishing third in Italy last season while Roma, a club with a greater European pedigree, missed out after finishing sixth.
In Agnelli’s plan, a club like Sheffield United, were they to qualify for the Champions League, would miss out to three-time European champions Manchester United despite finishing above them.
Agnelli is keen for increased emphasis to be placed on continental performance in determining European qualification.
“We are thinking what are corrective elements for those clubs to thrive?” Agnelli said.
“You retain your place at international level providing you reach a minimum place in the domestic table. But it’s debatable that in a big country you have direct access to competitions.
“I have very high regards for what Atalanta have done, but without European history, with a great performance last year, they have access to international competition. Is that fair or right?
“Then Roma have contributed a lot in maintaining the Italian ranking. They had one bad season, (and they are) out. Which means financial liability.”
Meanwhile, UEFA is reported to have held talks concerning an expanded version of the pre-season International Champions Cup tournament.
Any such plans would put it in direct competition with FIFA’s newly-expanded Club World Cup due to be played for the first time in China in the summer of 2021.
“A summer Champions League does not exist as far as I understand,” Agnelli said.
“I think what clubs have done is come together to try and see if the current ICC model is working, and if we can improve an aspect of our current business model we will do that.”
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