Atletico leads Spanish challenge to Champions League revamp


PARIS (AP) — Seven Spanish soccer teams have protested against a plan to transform the Champions League into a largely closed competition, openly opposing the European Club Association ahead of emergency meetings in Malta.

Atletico Madrid, second to Barcelona in the Spanish league, is the leading club to complain to the ECA leadership about its vision for European competitions in a letter obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Barcelona and Real Madrid are not among the signatories. Both of those clubs sit on the ECA executive board.

But the seven Spanish teams to break rank expressed concern to the ECA about a lack of consultation and openness about plans they say represent “the biggest threat in the history of European football in recent years.”

The ECA, which is led by Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli, has pushed a vision presented by UEFA that wants 24 out of 32 teams in the group stage returning the following season regardless of where they finish in their domestic leagues.

The status of competitions like the Spanish league could be diminished without the four Champions League spots to play for each season.


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