Premier League Calls For Reform In European Football
Richard Masters and Steve Parish join calls for fundamental rebalance and reform across European competition.
Richard Masters, the Premier League CEO told an audience of football executives at the Club Advisory Platform (CAP) Forum in Madrid today (Thurs 27th) that football needs to rebalance in the wake of the failed European Super League (ESL) breakaway.
Speaking via video link, Masters said: “What happened [with the ESL] created so much division and uncertainty when we least needed it and I think the reaction in this country was incredibly unified.”
Masters said the reaction of the fans was decisive in the decision of the six Premier League clubs involved in the breakaway to roll back in less than 48hrs after they announced plans to form a new closed league with teams from Italy and Spain.
But he warned that there was a huge amount of work to be done to stop a repeat of the plans, stating: “Clearly there are issues in the short-term for us to resolve and I am confident we’ll be able to do that.
“But when something as big as this happens, I don’t think you can ever go back to where you were before, and so at the Premier League at least, we are focusing in ensuring something like this cannot happen again.
“That means strengthening our regulations and our rules by working with The FA and trying to align everyone around a core set of principles going forward.
“I think the situation demands a reset, it demands openness,” he continued.
“There are issues out in front of us. What we now know is that those issues will now be discussed with everyone’s voice being heard and I think we’ll get better solutions because of that.”
Masters’ sentiment was echoed by Crystal Palace owner Steve Parish, who said: “We now need to come together and use this momentum to understand better everybody’s problems around Europe and this forum, and this format and this association, in my opinion, should have one of the biggest voices.”
Parish raised his concerns of the impact the expanded UEFA Cup competitions would have on domestic leagues along with the introduction of a coefficient which is a key element of the new Champions League format from 2024.
He said: “I am still very concerned that the original proposals that were made and the increases in the calendar, particularly to the coefficient. English football fans, in my view, will not accept a 7th placed team, leapfrogging a 5th place team into the Champions League.
“I think we also need to look at is it right that teams in the Premier League, at anytime, should directly access the Champions League when an Ajax or a Warsaw has to pre-qualify in the summer having won their league?
“We want to see the same thing – glory and jeopardy for every club. We want to keep the dream alive for every club.
“I congratulate Villarreal on an outstanding victory last night [over Manchester United in the Europa League Final]. We need Villarreal’s, and we need Manchester United’s. We have to have both of those clubs and they have to start the season with equal risk and equal glory potential.
“There’s big momentum for change and we must use that to change some of these current UEFA proposals to suit everybody around Europe.”