Clubs to fight UEFA on Champions League changes

Europe's top clubs are preparing to fight UEFA president Michel Platini's proposals for Champions League play-offs.

Europe's top clubs are preparing to fight UEFA president Michel Platini's proposals for Champions League play-offs.

The Frenchman is proposing a new final qualifying round for the tournament where the lowest-placed qualifiers from England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany and Portugal would play against each other.

The idea is to give more teams from the smaller leagues a place in the group stages of the competition but G14, the grouping of 18 leading European clubs, are drawing up plans to contest the change.

G14 leaders will meet before the UEFA Cup final in Glasgow next month when it is expected they will formerly endorse their opposition to any such change.

A source close to G14 told PA Sport: "That is going to be strongly resisted and we expect to get support from the television companies who pay a lot of money to screen Europe's leading clubs in the Champions League.

"It's one thing to make promises in order to win an election, but the Champions League is a very successful product in its current format and it would be a mistake to change it."

Platini has promised to run any proposals by UEFA's new strategic council - a body made up of representatives from UEFA, the leagues, the clubs and the players.

However, of the four clubs on the council AC Milan, Barcelona and Ajax are G14 members while Chelsea are the fourth, and they and the leagues would probably side with G14.

It is understood that G14, who include Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, are not threatening a breakaway 'superleague'.

The source added: "We already have a European superleague - it's called the Champions League, and it works very well."

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