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England managers worried over Champions League changes

England managers worried over Champions League changes

Managers in the English Premier League voiced concerns Friday over newly-elected UEFA president Michel Platini's plan to reduce the number of English teams eligible to qualify for the Champions League.
Manchester United's Alex Ferguson _ whose team won the Champions League in 1999 _ said the tournament format is "OK at the moment" and he hopes Platini won't change it.
"The appeal of the Champions League is when the giants of Spain or Italy or England come up against each other," Ferguson said. "If you go back a few years, there were maybe too many games with two qualifying groups because you had to play about 17 games to win it."
Ferguson was responding to Platini's proposals to revamp European soccer's most prestigious club competition by limiting the number of clubs qualifying from any one country to three instead of four.
Such a move would take away a spot from big soccer nations such as England, Spain and Italy, giving more space to smaller clubs. Platini said the new format would be in place for the 2009-2010 season.
"If you take away the fourth place teams, the only way to address that is by reducing the competition or by giving other countries two places," Ferguson said. "The way it is at the moment, with the top countries getting the top teams in, is a fantastic prospect every year."
Bolton manager Sam Allardyce said Platini's plan would be a "huge blow" to smaller English clubs such as his own, which is trying to win the league's final Champions League qualifying place.
"To take a Champions League place away from us _ that is to the detriment of the Premier League," Allardyce said. "If he can get away with that it is going to bring a lot of heartache to our league. It gives us virtually no chance whatsoever of qualifying for the Champions League."
The Premier League offered a guarded response.
"Basically, we'll continue to work with UEFA as we have always done and their democratic practices," Premier League spokesman Dan Johnson said.
Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick welcomed Platini's victory as "an exciting new era for European football."
"We look forward to working with him over the coming years," he said.


Updated : 2021-04-23 16:32 GMT+08:00