Proposed Champions League changes dilute 'sporting merit': Wenger

18 February 2021 - 10:19 By Reuters
Arsene Wenger winner of the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award speaks at the Winners Press Conference during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco.
Arsene Wenger winner of the Laureus Lifetime Achievement award speaks at the Winners Press Conference during the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards on February 18, 2019 in Monaco, Monaco.
Image: Christian Alminana/Getty Images for Laureus

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said UEFA's proposed changes to the Champions League do not respect the "sporting merit" of Europe's elite club competition.

UEFA's plans would see a "single table" with 36 teams replace the current group stage format, which features eight groups of four. The changes mean there would be 225 matches in the competition, up from the current 125.

"The model that is proposed for the modern Champions League, I don't like it at all," Wenger, now FIFA's head of global development, told BeIN Sports.

"The clubs always want more money. To get more money, they want more guaranteed games. The fans want more games of significance.

"Modern football has to find a compromise between what the clubs and fans want."

Europe's top leagues, including the Premier League, want UEFA to reconsider the plans amid concerns over fixture congestion.

"As long as we in the game don't respect the sporting merit in a logical way, we are not right," he said. "All people who play top-level competition would say you have to keep the merit of the quality of your performance."

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