UEFA to discuss proposal for third competition for clubs

UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino said UEFA will be discussing a proposal to create a third competition for clubs, apart from the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, which could be reserved for teams who fail to advance from the qualifying rounds of the two main competitions or even for those coming from smaller countries. Infantino was speaking during a press conference which was held at the end of the UEFA Executive Committee meeting which was held at the Westin Dragonara on Friday.

This proposal emerged from the UEFA Top Executive Programme which brought together the presidents and general secretaries of the fifty-four member associations. The UEFA General Secretary said that UEFA did not have any pre-conceived ideas and was open to suggestions. He said that until a few years ago there were four competitions for clubs and UEFA would not rule out the introduction of a new competition.

Gianni Infantino said that with the introduction of the UEFA Nations League as from September 2018, one of the sixteen bottom-ranked national teams would qualify for the EURO 2020. Countries will be divided into four divisions according to ranking with each division divided into four groups. National teams will be playing teams which are more or less on the same level. The winner of each division would make it the European Championships. The first UEFA Nations League will be played between September and November 2018.

Infantino said that the new format for the EURO was a huge success as now countries who never failed to qualify are getting a chance. He also said that the concept of the European Qualifiers was also another success as smaller countries no longer needed to be drawn with England or Germany in order to receive good money from TV rights; thanks to the centralised marketing for television rights, all countries received their fair share.

“National team football has been given another dimension,” stressed Infantino.

The UEFA General Secretary highlighted the main decisions taken by the UEFA ExCo which included the approval of a €2 million donation to the UEFA Foundation for Children in order to help child migrants in Europe and beyond. This donation will be going for specific programmes which will be announced at a later stage. Infantino said UEFA hoped these projects would help a bit the lives of children. He said that in this current situation of humanitarian drama, he thought football can help and football should help.

Former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme was appointed Chief Investigator of the Club Financial Control Body. Leterme will be at the forefront of monitoring the compliance of clubs with the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. Gianni Infantino said that there had definitely been remarkable improvement in this aspect. In fact, while overdue payables by clubs, mainly towards players, amounted to €57 million before the introduction of these regulations while now it only amounted to €5 million.

UEFA has appointed ExCo member František Laurinec as special representative for football in Crimea. He will be working closely with the local federation to ensure development of football.

The UEFA Ordinary Congress in 2016 will be deciding on a request for membership by the Football Federation of Kosovo.

Amendments to the regulations of the 2013/15 European qualifiers for the FIFA Women’s World Cup were approved. These were necessary as they had to determine which third team would qualify for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in 2016 along with France and Germany. The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland will be contesting a mini-tournament with the winners going to Rio.