UEFA president Michel Platini has unveiled his much-discussed changes for the Champions League.
Under Platini’s proposals, England, Italy and Spain would all have three teams that qualify automatically for the Champions League group stages via their domestic league. However, their domestic cup winners would enter a parallel qualifying competition along with 13 other cup winners across Europe for the four remaining places in the group stage of competition.
The proposal will go before UEFA’s executive committe in November for ratification.
“We are not changing the format of the Champions League, there is no question of that,” said Platini.
Under Platini’s plans, six more countries will be have entrants in the Champions League, raising to 16 from nine the number of champions taking part.
The proposals, which had been leaked earlier this week, are sure to attract criticism from England, Spain and Italy. But Platini insisted that it should be the clubs “who win rather than those who are richer or have better media rights who should play”.
UEFA are also planning to overhaul the UEFA Cup so that it resembles more closely that of the Champions League. Under the proposals, the Intertoto Cup would be scrapped.
Platini also recommended plans for moving the Champions League to the weekend to ensure a more family-oriented occasion.
“Among some other ideas I’d like to put in place is that for the big finals 75 percent of the spectators are supporters, that there are places reserved for fans,” he said.
“When I went to the Champions League final in Athens last season, I was really disappointed that there wasn’t a child in the stadium. That’s not due to Greece but because it was on a Wednesday, making it difficult for families to attend.”