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Champions League

Gary Neville slams ‘obscene’ gap between rich and poor clubs with warning that it’ll widen with Champions League revamp


GARY NEVILLE and former FA chief David Bernstein have warned the ‘obscene’ gap between Europe’s rich and poor clubs will only be widened by Uefa’s planned Champions League revamp.

And they also fear the Carabao Cup and FA Cup will be sacrificed on the altar of the financial demands of Europe’s wealthiest elite.

Gary Neville is part of Our Beautiful Game Group

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Gary Neville is part of Our Beautiful Game GroupCredit: Getty

Neville and Bernstein are leading members of the Our Beautiful Game Group which is calling for the establishment of an independent regulator to run English football. 

And in its latest submission, the group revealed its deep concerns over the impact of Uefa’s proposals to expand the Champions League from 125 matches per season to 225.

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That concept for the post-2024 shape of the European game is expected to be confirmed by the end of next month and the Group said: “Uefa’s planned reforms are likely to accentuate and embed the deep financial inequality already existing.

“The gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ will grow with broadcasting rights skewed even more towards the very top clubs.

If there is further and negative impact on the domestic Premier League and EFL broadcasting deals, this can only surely weaken competition within those leagues.

“The current dangerous and damaging power imbalance consuming English football will threaten the wider community game.

“And the obscene gap between rich and poor will widen still further. 

“Such an event will merely reinforce the hegemony of the top six clubs and it is hard to see how our existing football calendar in England could survive.

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David Bernstein is also part of Our Beautiful Game Group

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David Bernstein is also part of Our Beautiful Game GroupCredit: AP:Associated Press

“Threats to the very existence of both the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup as we know them would be very real.”

The Group criticised the FA and Prem for its silence over the imminent decision.

It added: “Debates about the future are right and must continue at home and beyond. 

“European football matters hugely. But so does the future of our game at all levels as well.

“We believe that the potential impact of the current proposals in England is substantial but yet again nobody appears to be speaking about them on behalf of English football as a whole.

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Where is the governing body of the game, the Football Association?

Our Beautiful Game Group

“Nobody seems to be seeking to mitigate their excesses and explaining how the proposals are positive for clubs outside the top six.

“Where is the governing body of the game, the Football Association?

“It is hard to think of a better example why the game urgently needs a truly Independent Regulator. 

“We need someone to speak with authority on the seismic issues impacting our national sport, to stand up for the interests of ALL the game at ALL levels and bring fairness and sustainability to football in our country.”

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