The Premier League’s elite have admitted to meeting to discuss potential changes to the Champions League – but with one notable exception, Tottenham.
Chelsea’s Bruce Buck, Manchester City’s Ferran Soriano, Manchester United’s Ed Woodward, Arsenal’s Ivan Gazidis and Liverpool’s Ian Ayre spoke about potential changes they would like to see applied to the European competition.
Champions League under threat
The chief executives met with Stephen Ross, who created the pre-season ‘International Champions Cup’, but the invite list did not seem to take much account of the current Premier League table.
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While they have denied plans for a breakaway competition that would rival the Champions League, their plans to compete in an International Champions Cup would have an impact on English participation in the mainstream competition.
Snub for Spurs
That would certainly affect Tottenham and Leicester, both of whom are all but qualified for next season’s Champions League. It will come as less of a blow to Leicester, who are well aware that they are out of their usual place. For Tottenham, however, who want desperately to be taken seriously as one of the league’s ‘big boys’, it comes as a huge snub.
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It is also a sign that these clubs are yet to break away from their ‘big five’ mentality, even if it no longer has any reflection of reality. Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool – the latter of whom are 8th in the table – will almost certainly miss out on Champions League football next season.
Liverpool have not been regular participants for a number of years, but still wield enough power to affect the future of English clubs in Europe.
Big clubs look elsewhere
It could be these reasons that are driving their push for change. With three of England’s biggest clubs set to lose out on an enormous amount of revenue if they miss out on the Champions League, it is perhaps unsurprising that they are starting to entertain billionaires such as Ross, who owns American football team Miami Dolphins.
The most significant change that is likely to happen in the near future is that England might lose one of its four places, with Italy’s Serie A demanding a further place.
That could prove a further blow to Spurs in future seasons, but their immediate concern will be their absence from talks that could have a huge impact on their fortunes.
Such an approach by these clubs could make it difficult for any of their proposals to go ahead, and could make clubs like Spurs and Leicester all the more likely to block their plans for a breakaway.