European football leagues suspend UEFA deal over Champions League reforms | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 21.10.2016
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European football leagues suspend UEFA deal over Champions League reforms

UEFA's controversial Champions League reforms have not gone down well outside of Europe's elite. The European football leagues have responded by freezing a deal with UEFA.

European football leagues have clashed with UEFA over reforms to the Champions League, which hands increased power to Europe's major clubs.

The 25 European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) have frozen a deal with UEFA which avoids domestic and Champions League games clashing.

The reforms, which the EPFL claim they should have been consulted about, guarantee four Champions League places to England, Spain, Italy and Germany, which changes the prize money distribution and, according to the EPFL, tips the balance of power in further towards Europe's elite.

"There is no other option but to terminate the current memorandum of understanding," EPFL president Lars-Christer Olsson told a press conference after a meeting of the body.

Twenty-two leagues present at the meeting voted for the suspension which will last until March 15 next year, Olsson, head of Sweden's professional league, said. Italy's Serie A voted against and Romania abstained.

"This will give us and UEFA sufficient time to negotiate," Olsson added.

Fußball Champions League Finale Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid Elfmeterschießen Jubel

Europe's biggest clubs such as Real Madrid are set to benefit from UEFA's Champions League reforms.

Olsson said he is to meet the new UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin in November. Ceferin acknowledged after he was elected UEFA president in September that the changes had been badly handled.

He ensured at the weekend that UEFA would make an effort to help small and medium-sized leagues that suffer from the changes.

The EPFL feels it is getting less say than the European Clubs Association which represent the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

No league has yet announced that it will hold matches on Champions League days, but EPFL officials said each country was free to decide its own action.

Many European leagues complain that the Champions League has been turned into a "closed party" and that the prize changes will increase the wealth gap between the continent's major clubs and the rest.

"It is about preserving the basic values that football fans love," said Claus Thomsen, chief executive of Denmark's league.

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