Clubs leader Agnelli stands by Champions League reform plan

Italy's Andrea Agnelli, chairman of the European Club Association, ECA, speaks to the media, during a press conference after the general assembly of the European Club Association, ECA, in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

GENEVA — European soccer clubs' leader Andrea Agnelli still supports a radical but stalled plan to reform the Champions League, and warns some will not like the final agreement reached with UEFA.

Juventus president Agnelli prefers a proposal for eight-team groups that would create more Champions League games between elite clubs from 2024. It is resisted by leagues in England, Spain, and elsewhere who fear their 20-team schedules being squeezed.

The original plan worked on by UEFA and clubs also suggested 24 of 32 entries being retained year-on-year, closing off qualifying paths for clubs from lower-ranked leagues. They could earn promotion from the second-tier Europa League.

Defending the "good proposal" after a two-day European Club Association meeting, Agnelli says it is "in the interests of all."

Eventual UEFA-approved changes by 2022 will be "a solution to fit the majority, not all" of ECA's members.

Agnelli says "we can't go beyond" satisfying 70-80% of the group's 230-plus clubs.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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