A high-ranking official with Shakhtar Donetsk has claimed that he would support bringing the UEFA Champions League final to the United States. Sergei Palkin, CEO and general director of the Ukrainian club, made the comments during a recent interview with The Athletic.
The news outlet sat down with the soccer exec ahead of the European Club Association (ECA) general assembly next week. The ECA is a group of execs that represent European clubs. Teams involved in this assembly typically tend to regularly feature in UEFA’s club competitions such as the Champions League.
The ECA is in Berlin. There, the group holds elections for board members of the organization. Palkin is running for one of these esteemed positions. If successfully elected, Palkin could then use his power in the ECA to potentially bring change to UEFA and FIFA.
Exec open to move to help promote European soccer
After a series of questions, The Athletic‘s Adam Crafton asked Palkin about the possibility of playing a UEFA Champions League final in the United States. “Now this idea is quite interesting and it is one I would support definitely because this is directed to the promotion of European football,” proclaimed Palkin.
“Therefore, yes, we should consider these kinds of choices to bring our European football to, for example, the U.S. or different continents. It will be quite interesting. Why not?”
Palkin did, however, reject a separate question regarding a significant change to the Champions League. There has been a recent debate about potentially allowing Saudi clubs to feature in the Champions League. The soccer exec claimed that he was against this move because he is “quite traditional in this area.”
Clubs may help finance fan travel for Champions League Final in USA
The reporter also asked Palkin if European clubs would help pay for their fans to travel Stateside for the match. “First of all, we should analyze everything, before talking about operational issues,” claimed the exec. “But we need to be open-minded and I would support this idea to promote football for fans outside of Europe and make these steps to develop European football.”
European clubs are likely to be open to playing a Champions League final overseas. Nevertheless, this is not a well-supported notion at the fan level. Many European supporters want the biggest club game of the year closer to home.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Nicolo Campo
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