Barcelona President Looks for Smaller Domestic Leagues

November 16, 2011

Barcelona president Sandro Rosell believes Europe’s elite domestic competitions, including the Premier League, must be cut to 16 clubs in order to boost the Champions League and suggested a breakaway league may be formed in 2014 if demands are not met.

Rosell, speaking at a conference in Qatar, went as far as to suggest a breakaway European competition could be created by the bigger clubs if UEFA did not agree to such demands made by the European Club Association [ECA], of which Rosell is vice-president.

Premier League clubs would also need to agree to the changes, but with the ECA’s memorandum of understanding with UEFA expiring in 2014, the organisation is lobbying for changes which Rosell says could lead to a ‘European Super League’.

“The objective of reducing from 20 to 16 teams is to give more space to our players,” said Rosell. “We want a bigger Champions League and hope one day we could play perhaps Barcelona versus Manchester United on Saturdays. It’s something all of them would have to agree to. That includes the Premier League.

“We want to have the Champions League under the UEFA umbrella but we want UEFA to hear our demands. We are asking for more revenue. We are asking for governance, transparency, insurance. We would like to have a Champions League with more teams.

“If UEFA and the ECA reach an agreement then that’s good for both parties. If not, with or without the UEFA umbrella, the ECA is entitled to organise their own champions’ competition by themselves. In the worst case scenario, we will go away from UEFA.”

Rosell also believes FIFA and UEFA should pay players’ wages during international tournaments. The Spaniard confirmed the ECA had already broached the subject with football’s governing bodies in previous meetings and was hopeful of a resolution.

“We don’t think it’s fair that we pay the salaries and they use our players and they get income using our players. We are not trying to eliminate dates for national teams – but the number of days our players are used by the national associations is huge,” Rosell said.

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