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Here’s what you need to know:
What: English Premier League
When: Saturday April 30, 2022
Weather: 7:30 a.m. ET
Or: St. James Park
TV: USA network
Direct: DirecTV streams (free try)
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More football news, courtesy of The Associated Press:
The fear is that UEFA will create a ‘monster’ with changes to the Champions League that will make the top flight even richer.
Eintracht Frankfurt CEO Axel Hellman has said he is working with other mid-tier clubs to try to thwart UEFA’s plans to give teams two places based on their historic record in Europe over five years if they do not qualify through their national performances.
Backstop places for two teams based on accumulated UEFA coefficient points are scheduled for 2024 when the Champions League introduces a new format and expands from 32 to 36 teams.
“If you’re in the Champions League, your coefficient gets higher and higher and the shop gets more and more closed,” Hellman said in a video call on Monday. “So I don’t think that should be the right requirement to participate in European competitions. I would be more open to other leagues and other clubs, and therefore domestic qualification is the most important door to keep open.
Frankfurt is one of the teams marginalized in Germany by the dominance of a Bayern Munich enriched by Champions League revenue and highly valued by past European success. But Frankfurt are preparing for their second Europa League semi-final in four seasons, against West Ham on Thursday.
Hellman is working to protect the path of the smaller domestic leagues to the top of European football, to ensure that the distribution of UEFA prize money and TV revenue is better balanced between competitions and to ensure that financial viability is rigorously monitored.
Enforcement of the rules is important to Hellman in order to promote balance within European competitions rather than tilting them even further in favor of the powerhouse teams – many of whom have tried and failed to break away and form a breakaway Super League there. a year ago.
“The other alternative will be clear if we don’t to some degree, we build our own monster,” Hellman said. “Champions League clubs are going to generate more and more, and one day they try to get into the Super League because that’s their only chance to meet their capital needs. And that’s something we have to avoid.
“That is why I am very strong with other clubs in the initiative to strengthen the interests of European middle-class clubs.”
It includes a team like its own, Frankfurt, which has been a regular in European competitions in recent seasons. The team also reached the final of the 1960 European Cup, losing to a Real Madrid side with Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo Di Stéfano in front of around 130,000 fans, and won the forerunner of the Europa League beating Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1980 UEFA Cup Final.
If Frankfurt, who are ninth in the Bundesliga, beat West Ham over two legs and then win the Europa League final, they will qualify for the Champions League.
A new Champions League group stage from 2024 will see each team play 10 games instead of six based on a single standings, unless UEFA scale back the expansion.
“I think the gap between the Europa League and the Champions League is too big – the gap is too big,” Hellman said. “What I’m not in favor of is building, step by step, a closed workshop that only generates profit on itself.”
Villarreal have shown the benefits of being able to move from Europe’s second-tier competition to the Champions League this season – by winning the Europa League – with the Spanish club preparing for a semi-final meeting with Liverpool on Wednesday.
“We are only a small club, a middle class club in Germany, and we are not the voice of all European clubs,” Hellman said. “But there is one thing we could do, at least. We could give voice to other middle-class clubs and organize an initiative with other clubs, and that’s something we’re working on.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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Ryan Novozinsky can be reached at [email protected].