‘UEFA know it but do they care? Absolutely not’: Pep Guardiola savages new Champions League reforms over concerns for player welfare – and Jurgen Klopp also takes aim at controversial changes, insisting: ‘I don’t like it’
- The upcoming divisive Champions League reforms have been widely criticised
- Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp took aim at UEFA over the planned changes
- Manchester City boss Guardiola has expressed his fears over player welfare
- And Liverpool coach Klopp revealed he has already expressed dismay to UEFA
Pep Guardiola took fresh aim at UEFA for a lack of care over player welfare amid the new Champions League reforms – while Jurgen Klopp has also savaged the controversial changes to the competition.
Manchester City boss Guardiola has been outspoken at governing bodies failing to take on concerns about the fixture crisis engulfing elite clubs.
He backed Ilkay Gundogan’s assertion that the Champions League’s increase to 36 teams and 10 group matches is the ‘lesser of two evils’ compared to the ill-fated European Super League.
Pep Guardiola has taken aim at the proposed Champions League reforms and fixture increase
City initially signed up for the Super League but Guardiola and the players were in opposition. The Catalan said earlier in the week that UEFA had ‘failed’ the players.
‘The show must go on,’ Guardiola said sarcastically. ‘Of course it will mean more injuries. Every season the same, the players play as they love to play but the injuries come.
‘Every time it’s the same, all of football is asking for better quality and they go for quantity. We are not in charge so we have to ask UEFA and FIFA to extend the year, maybe have 400 days a year and they can find a solution on that.
The divisive changes, which come into force in 2024, will see 36 teams and 10 group matches
Manchester City boss Guardiola insisted that the looming pile-up will result in more injuries
‘UEFA know it but do they care? Absolutely not. More games and competitions. We are lucky to be in the Champions League, we are going to play it but it’s a lot, honestly. We have not had one midweek off.
‘It’s crazy. The guys not in Champions League or the Europa League, they play a new competition, so let’s go. It’s a lot. It’s like an actor being in the theatre three times a day. Once a day they like it but three times a day is too much.’
Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Klopp was also quizzed on the reforms and didn’t hold back in explaining its shortcomings.
He said: ‘Everyone knows my opinion on more games. Yes, the Super League is off the table, good, very good.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp also savaged the changes and has told UEFA he doesn’t like it
‘But it’s not the case that the new Champions League is great. UEFA showed me the idea and I said I don’t like it, 10 games rather than six. No idea where to put them in.’
The changes, as part of the so-called ‘Swiss Model’ will result in 100 additional matches, handing coaches with a fresh selection headache.
As a result, and due to fears on the impact on revenues of the lower leagues, the proposals were met with a wave of condemnation.
As reported by Sportsmail, David Bernstein, the former FA chairman, and his Saving the Beautiful Game campaign group, believe that the reforms will widen the ‘obscene’ gap between rich clubs and the rest.
The reforms to the competition were given the green light on Monday (pictured: UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin)
Three of the four extra places in the competition will be awarded to clubs based on their past performance in Europe, using UEFA’s ranking.
It is believed that the enlarged tournament, which generates almost £3billion in prize money, will bring in a larger windfall.
Its vocal critics hold concerns that the revenues of domestic leagues will be reduced – and point out that the Carabao Cup and FA Cup may also come under threat.
Klopp went on to add: ‘The football structure at this moment is not prepared for more games.’
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