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Sir Alex Ferguson doubts Premier League clubs would want Champions League change

Sir Alex Ferguson doubts Premier League clubs would want Champions League change
© Reuters
Could football's premier European club competition be in line for a dramatic shake-up?

Sir Alex Ferguson believes a global Super League would not be attractive to leading English Premier League teams.

It has been reported the European Clubs' Association has suggested a dramatic shake-up of football's premier European club competition, which could see the Champions League group stage transformed into a 32-team division.

A final decision on any proposed new format would be taken by UEFA.

 Sir Alex Ferguson with the Champions League trophy
Sir Alex Ferguson won the Champions League twice with Manchester United (Peter Byrne/PA)

Such a plan may spark fear among some that it could lead to the creation of a European Super League, with the 32 clubs eventually split into two divisions and 16 home-and-away games.

FIFA, meanwhile, wants to extend the current Club World Cup format to some 24 sides from 2021 – a move which has brought strong opposition from the European governing body.

There have also been suggestions a global Super League could eventually be organised, which would see member clubs no longer play in domestic competitions.

However, Ferguson – who guided Manchester United to European success in 1999 and 2008 as well as some 13 Premier League titles – cannot understand the appeal.

"I struggle to see why an English team would need to leave," Ferguson told the BBC.

"Without question, it is money orientated, but surely this would not be attractive to our clubs in the Premier League, which at the moment is the best domestic league in world football and is well supported financially by Sky, BT and now Amazon.

The match being streamed on the Amazon Prime App at St Mary's, Southampton.
Amazon recently streamed live Premier League matches for the first time (Steven Paston/PA)

"Furthermore, the attraction of playing in the Champions League is huge for players, coaches and fans alike, as it remains the ultimate test in club football.

"A lot of clubs with great history could be lost if their partners in the Premier League upped sticks.

"I strongly believe this is a realistic appraisal of the value of domestic football."

Liverpool celebrate
Liverpool won last season's final in Madrid (Peter Byrne/PA)

Under the new proposed schedule for the Champions League, each club would play 10 matches against 10 different opponents with the top-eight sides qualifying for the round of 16.

The remaining 16 teams would then take part in a two-legged play-off to join them in the knockout phase.

Home and away matches would be scrapped in the initial group stage and – according to the report – fixtures would be determined on the 32 qualifiers being divided into four pots based on their coefficient.

It is claimed that the top eight would also be guaranteed automatic qualification for the following season's Champions League.

The European Clubs' Association consists of 232 teams and was founded in 2008.

Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham, Everton, Leicester and Newcastle are among its members.

Juventus' Andrea Agnelli is the organisation's chairman.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool22211052143864
2Manchester CityMan City23153564273748
3Leicester CityLeicester23143648232545
4Chelsea2312383930939
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd239773627934
6Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2381053430434
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11Everton2385102633-729
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2385102234-1229
13Southampton2384112942-1328
14Burnley2383122638-1227
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2367102631-525
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham2265112634-823
17Watford2358102034-1423
18Aston Villa2364132944-1522
19Bournemouth2355132036-1620
20Norwich CityNorwich2345142345-2217

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