The G-14 group comprising 14 of Europe’s most powerful clubs has “reluctantly accepted” UEFA proposals to alter the format of the Champions League from next season.
UEFA announced in July that from next season the second group stage of the Champions League would be replaced by a straight knock-out format tgus reducing the number of fixtures a club would play from a maximum of 17 to 13. UEFA argued that the change was necessary to reduce the stress on players and to keep the tournament attractive to television audiences.
Peter Kenyon, the chief executive of Manchester United and a G-14 vice-president, told a news conference on Friday: “The clubs really saw no reason to change the format, but for variousreasons UEFA did, and we have to go along with that.
“We were not happy about the way things were done and we need to have greater dialogue with UEFA in the future.
“We accept that the 17-match format will be replaced by 13 matches, now we have to move forward and work out exactly what the 13-match format will be.”
There was talk of G-14 abandoning the competition to set up their own breakaway league, though Kenyon denies this was ever an option.
“It never came to that,” Kenyon said.
“It was always a question of living with the decision once it had been made, but we were upset about the process.”
UEFA spokesman Mike Lee said: “We are very pleased with the clubs’ decision, we believe the new Champions League format is the right one for the future and are delighted more clubs are supporting the change. We now need to look in more depth at the UEFA Cup with the clubs and to make the new European club forum a real success.”