Champions League revolt as clubs call for shake-up
A new breakaway Champions League remains a serious option for some clubs ahead of crunch talks over potentially radical changes to the structure of European club football.
The vast global popularity of the Premier League is continuing to alarm clubs across other major leagues, who are increasingly looking to European competition as their main potential area of revenue growth.
Meetings have been held to discuss options which, as well as a new tournament, also include significant change to a Champions League that would become more concentrated between the most marketable clubs in Europe.
Several documents have been circulating with proposals that range from a completely new competition to tweaks to the existing structure.
It is understood that one proposal is to create a single expanded European competition that would guarantee at least six places for each of the biggest leagues.
Others have included an additional round of games before the group phase that would reduce the teams to 16, as well as guaranteed places for certain clubs, and matches at the weekend, although this would be opposed by the English clubs.
Dalian Wanda Group, the property and entertainment conglomerate run by billionaire Wang Jianlin, has denied pushing for clubs to join a new competition but did admit to talks designed to "explore ways in which sports and business can be further developed".
Italian and Spanish clubs are leading the push for the widest-ranging overhaul.
The Premier League's new £5.14billion broadcast deal already dwarfs the money on offer in other domestic leagues and even the Champions League has struggled to keep pace.
Last season, for example, Real Madrid earned less from winning an 11th European Cup than the top 11 English teams did from their involvement in the Premier League.
Top clubs believe that, by opening up European competitions to more countries, UEFA are not maximising the commercial potential of the competition for the big guns. (© Daily Telegraph, London)