Michel Platini, who is standing for the presidency of Uefa, has vowed to make the Champions league more open to Europe’s less wealthy clubs.
“I want progress but not a revolution,” Platini told a news conference.
Platini, the former player and coach of the French national team, is standing against Lennart Johnasson who has been in charge of the organisation since 1990. The outcome of their contest will be decided at the UEFA Congress in Dusseldorf on January 27
“My advantage over Mr. Johansson is that my candidacy came at a moment when he thought about calling it quits and then decided to run against me for some reason,” Platini said.
Platini, 51, believes that while the current 32-team format of the Champions League should remain unchanged, the number of clubs from the top leages should be reduced in order to give more countries a chance to participate.
“Italy, England, Germany and Spain should have three clubs each in the Champions league so that teams from other leagues that are not in the same financial bracket can compete with them on the pitch.
“There are not enough champions taking part in the competition as it is. There are many countries in Europe whose clubs can’t hold onto their most talented players but they still deserve a chance to play against the top clubs.
“My mission is to protect soccer and I believe everyone will benefit from the idea to get more leagues, countries and clubs in Europe invloved in the Champions league.
“It would be a more European competition and as such would actually entice sponsors,” he said in a bid to dispel fears that reorganising the competition would trigger a financial backlash.
Platini said his plan was aimed at helping “both the rich and the poor.”
“I don’t divide soccer between the rich and the poor. All teams and federations would still have to earn their UEFA rankings on the pitch and be represented accordingly.
“As for the wealthiest leagues, they would actually benefit from having three automatic slots in the Champions league each rather than two plus another two in the quaifying rounds.