Now Agnelli's countrymen reject his Champions League reforms
Juventus chairman Andrea Agnelli's hopes of revamping European soccer's club competitions have been dealt a significant blow by his own league, with 15 of the 20 top-flight Serie A clubs rejecting his proposals.
In a statement following its general assembly yesterday, Serie A announced that there was "with a significant majority, a resolution against the Uefa reform proposals for European club competitions post-2024."
Juventus, understandably, was the sole club to back the plan, while four - Inter Milan, Roma, AC Milan and Fiorentina - abstained. The remaining 15 clubs all voted against.
Serie A said: "We firmly believe that qualification for Uefa club competitions should be based only and exclusively on clubs’ performances in the domestic championship because any semi-closed model will endanger the value of national competitions. We also express our concerns about the economic and competitive impact on Serie A of this Uefa reform.
"We truly hope that Uefa will take our observations into consideration and will work together with the European Leagues to implement a different model that will preserve the sustainability of both national championships and european competitions."
Serie A had been the one quiet voice in this debate, with the other members of European soccer's so-called 'big five' - England's Premier League, Spain's LaLiga, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1 - all having spoken out against the plans of the European Club Association, of which Agnelli is president.
The ECA proposes restructuring the top-tier Uefa Champions League from eight groups of four teams to four groups of eight teams, with 24 of the 32 teams qualifying automatically.
Agnelli has already accused the top national leagues of “protectionism,” adding that they need to consider the interests of others.
Speaking after last week's ECA general assembly in Malta, he said: “In trying to address European football, one must take a step back and have a European view, be they come from England, the main market, or Iceland… We must put ourselves in the shoes of others.
“When we come to a solution, 80 per cent will be satisfied it is going to be a good result.”
Uefa is set to host a meeting with the ECA and European Leagues at its headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on 11 August to discuss the post-2024 club competition landscape.
The ECA’s proposal would ensure a Champions League with more matches between Europe’s top clubs, but also, the body argues, perceived greater European competition involvement for lower-level teams, as part of a three-tier structure incorporating promotion and relegation to and from the second-tier Europa League and a new tournament Uefa is introducing below that.